Referential Style at the US Capitol Visitor Center, Washington, DC

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  • Title: Referential Style at the US Capitol Visitor Center, Washington, DC: A Case Study of Environmental Graphic Design in a Historical Context
  • Author(s): John R. Kleinpeter
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Constructed Environment
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Constructed Environment
  • Keywords: Environmental Graphic Design, Referential Style, Historic Preservation, Wayfinding, US Capitol Visitor Center
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2154-8587 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8595 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8587/CGP/v08i04/23-39
  • Citation: Kleinpeter, John R. . 2017. "Referential Style at the US Capitol Visitor Center, Washington, DC: A Case Study of Environmental Graphic Design in a Historical Context." The International Journal of the Constructed Environment 8 (4): 23-39. doi:10.18848/2154-8587/CGP/v08i04/23-39.
  • Extent: 17 pages

Abstract

When a structure or space of historical significance is renovated, preservation concerns may influence the type of design approach that is used in the addition of a new Environmental Graphic Design (EGD) program. To address preservation concerns such as material integrity or aesthetic sensitivities, design practitioners may consider processes and solutions that take into account the historical significance in some way. This case study describes the role played by historical significance considerations in the design process of the EGD program for the expansion of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, with the construction of a new Capitol Visitor Center. Inaugurated in 2008, the Visitor Center is a prime example of a referential style approach where the characteristics of the EGD program were inspired by the historic Capitol and appear to belong, but are not period-specific replicas. This paper highlights details of the project, its challenges, and solutions.