Historic Railing Extension and Infill

Adapting historic buildings to current codes is often challenging.

The Smithsonian regularly check their buildings for compliance with current codes, even though most building codes would not require retroactive upgrades of this sort. But the Smithsonian is their own code authority and they take it seriously.

The Natural History Museum’s publically accessible 2nd floor balcony guardrails did not meet today’s 42-inch height requirement.

Because the columns taper, the space between the columns and the handrail ends exceeds four inches toward the railing top.

We explored alternatives from replicative to unabashedly modernist, solid to transparent. The design finally selected for this iconic space was somewhere between, reversible and with no damage to original fabric.