Beyer Blinder Belle Completes Renovation and Expansion of D.C. Modern Gothic Landmark, the National Presbyterian Church

Press photos taken for the opening of the National Presbyterian Church, Beyer Blinder Belle

The renovation honors the iconic building while providing modern upgrades, improving accessibility, and revitalizing the surrounding public space

October 19, 2021 (Washington, DC) —  Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) announces the completion of the renovation and expansion of the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. BBB was selected as architect of the project following the firm’s completion of the 2016 Master Plan. The project is the first major alteration to the building since the 1967 construction of the mid-century modern landmark. The Church is listed on the DC Inventory of Historic Sites.

BBB renovated and expanded the Main Church building with two additions, which improve accessibility and provide new community spaces, introducing a new rear entry with two new elevators serving all three levels of the Church. The second addition, clad in salvaged limestone, comprises new classroom, meeting, and outdoor gathering space with an expanded outside terrace overlooking an existing garden that was redesigned to be accessible.

A pivotal design feature of the renovation is a new central stair that connects all three levels of the Church and provides views to the roof terrace and reimagined garden beyond. The renovation improves the Church’s facilities for ministry by addressing accessibility, traffic flow, unification of programs, and by introducing flexible rooms and spaces for gathering.

The project also addresses deferred maintenance to the 50-year-old building, including terrace waterproofing, HVAC and boiler replacement and upgrades, security improvements, lighting, and technology infrastructure. The design incorporates sustainable features including stormwater bio retention and new energy efficient mechanical systems and lighting, consistent with the client’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

“Beyer Blinder Belle’s renovation of the National Presbyterian Church, and light touch approach to new interventions, creates a more accessible and welcoming experience throughout,” says Hany Hassan, FAIA, Partner. “Our work introduces a contemporary entry and new central staircase, expressive and open in design, to draw people through all three levels of the Church.”

A selection of photos can be found here.


Founded in 1968, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners is an award-winning architecture, planning, and interiors practice of 170 professionals in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Boston. The firm’s multi-faceted portfolio encompasses preservation, urban design, and new construction projects that span a wide spectrum of building typologies and sectors, including cultural, civic, educational, residential, and commercial.

For more than five decades, BBB’s work has focused on the revitalization of nationally celebrated historic buildings, including Smithsonian Institution, Washington Monument’s New Visitors Facility, and the revitalization of the Franklin School in Washington, D.C. BBB‘s national reputation for leadership in the restoration and rehabilitation of mid-century modern buildings has led have led the revitalization of some of the most important and iconic mid-century modern sites in North America, including Marcel Breuer’s former Whitney Museum (1966); New York’s Lincoln Center (1962) designed by Phillip Johnson, Eero Saarinen and Harrison & Abramovitz; Junzo Yoshimura’s Japan Society (1972); a contemporary addition to William B. Tabler’s expressionist Washington Hilton (1965); and Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport (1962).

BBB approaches all projects with a deep understanding of their character-defining features and contexts, and brings creativity, place-making, and authenticity to the design of buildings and dynamic public spaces that meet the needs of current and future generations.

Media Contact:
Michelle DiLello
Blue Medium, Inc.