An ever-growing institution, Georgetown University saw an opportunity to repurpose an 1800s mechanical car building by transforming the first floor spaces to house the University Press and Master of Arts in Government program. Known as the Car Barn, this historic building is situated along M Street at the end of the Key Bridge and was originally used to house and maintain the city’s streetcars.

Today, the bright, modern interior features new classrooms, office space, and conference rooms in a layout designed for flexibility and interaction.

Care was taken to maintain the historic integrity of the building’s character by re-opening the large arched doorways, previously used for the streetcars, and infilling them with a glass-fin curtainwall system to promote transparency and create a dramatic lobby and student lounge area. New wood windows, matching the originals, were incorporated into the facade, bringing natural light into the space and offering views to the famous “Exorcist Steps,” which were preserved along the building’s exterior. The lobby area serves multiple purposes, acting as a lounge for students and offering additional swing space.

The faculty and graduate student offices were created with supporting conference rooms for group interaction, and these spaces are shared with the University Press, maximizing their utilization. Representative of the greater trend to revitalize meaningful historic buildings on college campuses, the Car Barn renovation integrates state-of-the-art technology and recaptures useful space for the University.