Cultural & Civic / Museums / Projects

The National Archives, home to the United States’ most important documents underwent significant renovations that included the main rotunda and conference facilities, as well as the addition of a new theater.

The main rotunda, a predominant architectural element in the building, is used for special lectures and presentations that require a high degree of speech intelligibility. We conducted extensive testing of the existing room, designed computer models of proposed renovations, and worked closely with the architect to maintain a pleasing aesthetic appearance. Final recommendations included a portable sound system upholding the architectural integrity of the space on a daily basis. We also designed acoustical applications for adjacent spaces in the building, updated the HVAC system, established acoustical and vibration criteria for the building’s elevator systems, and proposed acoustical treatments for walls and doors in the building.

The National Archives Theater was designed for musical and theatrical performances, lectures, and multi-media presentations requiring flexible and practical audiovisual design. The stage includes a large front projection screen with a drapery masking system accommodating various image formats. A surround sound system for sound reinforcement reproduces sound from all playback sources through ceiling speakers. A remote control system operates all audiovisual devices interfaced with the lighting and drapery systems. Provisions were made for broadcasting events to the street level for further distribution of signals.

Client: Hartman Cox
Project Type: Renovation
Size: 2,557,000 sf
Location: Washington, DC

  • Conducted tests and proposed a portable sound system in rotunda to ensure speech intelligibility without compromising aesthetics
  • Interfaced remote control AV system with surround sound, lighting, and drapery for optimum ease of use