Restoring a Beloved Community Resource

Eastern Market

Eastern Market

Washington, DC

Eastern Market has been a major commercial and social hub since it opened in 1873. By the time a three-alarm fire broke out in 2007, we had already begun designing an exterior rehabilitation to address the building’s outdated infrastructure and poor energy performance. The fire destroyed large portions of the roof and floor, creating an opportunity for comprehensive improvements.

Mechanical heating and cooling were introduced to supplement the building’s ability to allow natural ventilation during the night and good weather. Our design also improved the performance of the building envelope. The rehabilitation of the beloved market, which is now fully accessible for market operations and community use, revitalized the heart of the Capitol Hill neighborhood it anchors.

Restoring a Beloved Community Resource
The effort to resurrect Eastern Market preserved a slice of DC’s cultural heritage.
An exterior black and white photograph of building with carriages in front.

A Historic Landmark

Eastern Market was placed in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites in 1964 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. In addition to being a historic landmark, the building is a thriving center of economic and social activity and a destination for residents and visitors alike.

An interior photograph of a fire-damaged building.

Restoring Lost Features

Our analysis and research in the wake of the fire revealed evidence of original features that had been lost to previous renovations, including a large skylight and rooftop elements like acroteria. We recreated these features by referencing old photos, other Adolf Cluss-designed buildings, and physical evidence within the building’s structure.

An interior photograph of an indoor market with lots of people.

Integrating Sustainable Elements

Our design modernized sustainable strategies inherent in the original building, including daylighting through the skylight and natural ventilation from a ridge vent. We also incorporated new HVAC and electrical distribution systems, concealing in the basement below an all-new floor assembly.

An interior photograph a flower stand.

A Capitol Hill Landmark

The $22 million rehabilitation restored the original function and character of the beloved Capitol Hill landmark while delivering a modernized and refreshed environment for market operations and community use.

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