Founded in 1852 as the Hospital for the Insane of the Army, Navy, and District of Columbia, St. Elizabeths was the first federally operated psychiatric facility. Today, more than 50 significant buildings remain on the campus, which has grown to 336 landscaped acres with 170 species of trees. Mills + Schnoering Architects was commissioned by the General Services Administration (GSA) to prepare a conditions evaluation, historic landscape evaluation, and an archaeological investigation as the basis for determining a strategy for re-use of the site by the Department of Homeland Security.
The multi-disciplinary project team surveyed the site and buildings to prepare a report on their conditions and integrity. The Cultural Landscape Report included documentation of changes over time, and the archaeological report identified below-grade historic resources and areas in which additional resources may be located. The team then undertook a recording project using laser scanning to produce a highly accurate, virtual 3D model of the site as well as preparing full Historic American Buildings Survery (HABS) documentation and measured drawings, which were a mitigation requirement of the GSA’s Section 106 process.