Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection

La Quercia Renovation

Project at a Glance

Washington, DC


Cunningham | Quill Architects

Project Type


Project Overview

> Comprehensive pre-construction phase including an extensive exploratory period and full unit renovation to serve as a mock-up for the subsequent renovations
> Managing invasive construction activities in a high-end urban neighborhood with no laydown and in close proximity to residential abutters
> Coordination of all exterior scopes of work with local historic commissions and neighborhood  organizations including the Old Georgetown Board (ODB)

Dumbarton Oaks, an institution of Harvard University devoted to the study of Byzantine, Garden, Landscape and Pre-Columbian studies, houses scholars and researchers in their Georgetown apartments. Local housing options expanded with the renovation of La Quercia, a two-story short-term housing building, that features a total of 15 one bedroom units.

To achieve the vision of a modernized housing option for its scholars, all interior elements of La Quercia were demolished down to the building structure, and the space was redefined to accommodate modern living layouts. Each unit received energy efficient lighting fixtures, updated kitchens and bathrooms, modern finishes and water-saving plumbing fixtures. The basement was renovated to accommodate amenity spaces including a lounge, community kitchen and laundry room; all corridors and common spaces received new flooring and a VRF HVAC system was installed on the roof on the roof. The building’s exterior saw a full replacement of windows and doors; brick masonry washing, repointing and repair; installation of a new roof and photovoltaic panels and new landscaping and plantings. All work was completed on a fast-track schedule.