Hidden Repairs to US Supreme Court Facade

U.S. Supreme Court Repairs - Pano

A few days ago while visiting the Folger Shakespeare Library (post to come) I noticed the unique way the US Supreme Court has chosen to conceal the repairs currently taking place on its façade. The Corinthian style building (which opened in 1935) has experienced issues with the marble exterior dating back to 2005. At the time nets were installed to prevent the continued separation of the marble from hurting the public.

The repairs begun in May and are scheduled to last approximately 21 months. The Supreme Court building’s façade is perhaps one of the most televised structures in Washington DC. The term beginning in October and arguments on high profile cases, being heard until April 2013 it makes sense to have the building as presentable as possible. Here is an example of the news report view in front of the Supreme Court (Link). The scrim’s texture is a photograph of the facade thus concealing the scaffolding behind, simply genius!

UpClose of Scrim

Aside from news networks having a pleasant background, this approach struck me at a deeper level. While I can find the hidden beauty in the construction of a building, there is no denying any structure is at its best during renovation. As someone that seeks out specific buildings during vacations (and often plans trips to specific buildings), I have often been bummed by the mess a renovation can cause to my plans.

I can’t count the number of times I went on vacation excited to shoot a photo of a particular location site, only to find that renovations had it closed, or covered in scaffolding. The photos I was eager to make were ruined. While still not ideal the scrim at the US Supreme Court is the most tourist friendly solution I have seen thus far.

Work Sign

U.S. Supreme Court Repairs - Front



This photo of Fallingwater still haunts me. It was under renovation during our visit. Once I have time to dig more photos up, I will make a Blog entry on the renovation photos that “could have been”…


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