After a devastating fire, Quinn Evans Architects designed the rehabilitation to renew this century-old civic building into a state-of-the-art public market facility.

The project program retains the historic integrity of the landmark building, modernized it to integrate the requirements of a 21st-century food market, restores elements of the original daylighting and climate strategies, and incorporated green materials and systems.


  • Restored civic market destroyed by fire
  • Recaptured elements of the original daylighting and climate strategies
  • Incorporated green materials and systems
  • Listed on National Register of Historic Places
  • 28,180 sf renovation
  • Originally designed by Adolf Cluss in 1873



  • 2011 Preservation Award, Victorian Society of America
  • 2010 Historic Resources Award of Excellence, AIA | DC
  • 2010 National Preservation Honor Award, National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • 2010 Excellence in Historic Preservation, DC Preservation League and DC Office of Planning
  • 2009 Honor Award for Historic Preservation, AIA | Virginia Society

A Disastrous Fire

On April 30, 2007, a fire in the early hours quickly engulfed the South Hall and eventually burned through the roof. Although the masonry walls and floor remained sound, the integrity of the roof was lost and windows and doors were seriously damaged. Immediately, the City pledged to rebuild. In an immense emergency effort the building was cleared of the debris, the structure was examined, and plans restoring the market were undertaken. Money was donated by the citizens to aid the displaced merchants, and the District and Federal governments quickly allocated funding to rebuild.

© Ron Blunt Photography

© Ron Blunt Photography

Sustainable Design Strategies

The comprehensive rehabilitation modernized sustainable strategies of the original architect. Natural ventilation and daylight were optimized through reconstruction of the market hall skylight and restoration of the wood windows, both altered to control UV light. Mechanical heating and cooling were introduced to the building to allow natural ventilation during the night and good weather. Victorian-era cavity walls were supplemented with interior insulation and the slate roof was restored with added insulation. The building now includes disabled access from all sides, and modern restrooms were added on the public floor.

Eastern Market is the last public fresh food market open in the District. It has been in continuous operation since 1873 and remains a treasured community resource.

© Ron Blunt Photography

Local & National Significance

Originally designed by Adolf Cluss in 1873 with the addition of the North Hall in 1908;. The building was listed in the National Register in 1973. In 1998, the local designation was revised to include interior features and configuration; accordingly, all facets of the project were reviewed and approved by the SHPO. Since the building is owned by the DC Government, the project was also reviewed by the US Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capitol Planning Commission. 

"Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the market is once again restored to its intended purpose...The effort to resurrect Eastern Market preserved a slice of DC's cultural heritage, the heart of the Capitol Hill community, while saving a historic building that is truly a treasure."

Nancy Barry, Eastern Market Rising, Traditional Building Magazine

Eastern Market North Hall  
© Ron Blunt Photography