Design Line
Friday, September 4 2015

Saint Mark’s Church | A Symbol of Continuity + Evolution


A recognized landmark of architectural and historic significance, the Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church has served its Capitol Hill community since the late 19th Century. Today, a historically conscientious renovation has updated the church’s support spaces to better meet its needs, while sensitively adding to the existing building envelope.

©Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Parish hall facade at dusk.

Saint Mark’s Church sits at 301 A Street SE, across from the Library of Congress. The Late Victorian Neo-Gothic church was constructed in phases between 1888 and 1894. Designed by architect Thomas Buckler Ghequier of Baltimore, the church was reflective of the Neo-Romanesque style, in vogue in Washington in the 1880s. The church was subsequently expanded, adapting to the needs of its congregation. Notably, a one-story, masonry parish hall wing was added in 1926, replacing modest wood-framed houses. In 1972, the National Capital Planning Commission designated Saint Mark’s as a “Category Two Landmark of the National Capital,” and the Interior Department listed the church in the National Register of Historic Places.

©Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

LEFT: Renovated parish hall lobby; RIGHT: Reconfigured stairwell with retained historic newel post.

To better utilize social areas and to provide additional office space, the design team reconfigured the east parish hall wing. Constructed in 1926-1927, the one-story masonry wing featured a steeply pitched slate roof with an impressive solid wood truss system. The renovation program sought to maximize the utility of the parish hall wing while respecting the existing architecture and keeping within the design cues of the church.

©Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

This reconfiguration required sensitive adjustments to the masonry exterior facade. On the rear elevation, the gable-roof of the kitchen appendix was raised 8’ to construct two new office spaces illuminated via shed dormers. A second-story addition was inserted into the rear slope of the wing’s roof, maintaining the existing footprint but adding mass. Other exterior work included the installation of PV panels on the rear slope of the wing’s roof, slate repair and in-kind window replacement.

©Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

The insertion of a second story in the parish hall provides an intimate multipurpose space on the ground floor with new office space above.

We congratulate the Saint Mark’s congregation, our talented team of architects and consultants, and our general contractor, Monarc Construction, on this successful project completion! See more of the Saint Mark’s Church renovation.

Photography by Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography.