National Portrait Gallery


The Smithsonian Institution


Washington, D.C.

Square Footage

240,000 sq. ft.

Date Completed

January 2009



The Old Patent Office Building, the third oldest building in Washington, D.C., has served as a patent office, a Civil War hospital and a federal exhibition hall.  Now part of the Smithsonian Institution, the building houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.  The structure underwent an extensive renovation to upgrade its electrical distribution, lighting, telecom, security and life safety systems, as well as construction of a new enclosed courtyard.

As part of the electrical system upgrade, Singleton provided 2500kva 480v spot network vaults and associated switchgear and 480v riser bus duct riser distribution to electric and LAN closets. Duct banks were also installed within existing basement sub-grade. The team also assisted with the design and install of project-specific track lighting and dimming controls for the art exhibit galleries. The project included procuring and installing a number of historic lighting replicas throughout the building, which Singleton ensured were made with historic materials.

Singleton overhauled an upgraded the Old Patent Building’s telecom infrastructure, including fiber optic and telecom cabling that provides networked communication to other Smithsonian buildings.  The team also installed a new security system and upgraded the fire alarm system.

The final aspect of the renovation project included a new enclosed courtyard in the center of the building.  Singleton fitted the structure with theatrical lighting and sound systems that accommodated its artistic design.