Inter-American Defense College Renovation

As part of a design-build partnership with Mortenson, KCCT delivered the restoration of Building 60, formerly an officers' club, on the National Register of Historic Places-eligible Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, DC. The renovation effectively transitioned the historic building from an event space to a state-of-the-art training facility for the Inter-American Defense College (IADC). Originally designed by McKim, Mead & White in a Beaux Arts expression, the building had in recent years experienced age-related deterioration and security restrictions that limited access to the post. The result is a general instruction and supporting facility building that meets the Army's needs for both functionality and longevity, with a life expectancy of 50 years.

In addition to bringing the building up to code and to be conducive to modern education operations, a key objective was to leverage KCCT's design ingenuity to restore the character-defining features of the original design intent. The project team refreshed and modernized the building with all new interior finishes; improved the interior office spaces for a cutting-edge working and learning environment for both soldiers and civilians; and overhauled mechanical systems, fire alarm systems, and new electrical systems, as well as architectural finishes and building envelope upgrades.

Building 60 is considered the second most prominent building on Fort McNair and is a contributing resource of the base's National Register-eligibility. During the historic research phase of the project, the most significant feature within Building 60 was determined to be a woodblock-printed mural wall covering manufactured in the late 1790s. The design team devised a creative solution for routing the wet sprinkler pipe through the room without impacting the mural by encapsulating the sprinkler pipe and heads through modifications to the non-original crown molding. The side wall sprinklers are unobtrusive and do not detract from the viewership of the mural, while simultaneously protecting it from water damage.

The project team maintained and preserved the building's character, defining features, and appearance, while also making necessary interventions. This included reinstating bricked-over windows that had been part of the original design and recreating the wooden front door - part of the original design - using existing conditions photography. The recreated door filled the entire frame and recontextualized the dentals of the building.

In the interior, the design honored historic, character-defining features while upgrading permanent finishes to meet the needs of a state-of-the-art soft-skills facility. This included the removal of a raceway and alignment of trim pieces for continuous expression. The team cut out an archway that was original to the building but whose location impacted necessary life safety upgrades and reinstalled it in the grand ballroom upstairs.

Landscaping was restored to the original design intent, including lawn panels.



DBIA National Award of Merit, Rehabilitation, Renovation and / or Restoration Category

DBIA Mid-Atlantic Region, Best in Design Excellence - Architecture

DBIA Mid-Atlantic Region, Award of Excellence for Buildings / Facilities

DBIA Mid-Atlantic Region, Best in Teaming




Washington, DC


22,657 SF




US Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District


• Architecture
• Historic Preservation
• Construction Administration
• Interior Design
• Programming