pentagon river terrace and

entry portico restoration

Arlington, VA

project size

1270,000 SF


Historic Preservation

National Register of Historic Places

National Historic Landmark

Virginia Landmarks Register

The Pentagon River Terrace Entrance and Parade Grounds contribute to the Pentagon’s National Register listing.  Together, they have served as the memorial site of many historically significant celebrations, commemorations and civil protests. Davis Buckley Architects and Planners (DBA) undertook a design-build restoration of these spaces that required the removal and replacement in kind of the dimensional stonework, the design of new ADA compliant ramps, and the design and detailing of new guardrails at the main entry portico.


The River Terrace extends 900 feet to the Pentagon and is comprised of approximately 107,600 square feet of surface area including building entrances, terrace steps, walkways, parking areas and planting beds and approximately 105,000 square feet of occupied space in what was previously the motor pool for the Pentagon.  Over the years, the waterproofing of the walkways, retaining walls, and planting areas of the River Terrace had deteriorated, and consequentially, leaks had developed in numerous locations. 


The scope of stone restoration work included the removal of all existing dimensioned limestone from the structure; addition of sloping topping slabs above the existing structural slabs and replacement of existing drains; waterproofing of the entire concrete structure; supplementing the existing inadequate drainage systems; and replacement of all construction and landscaping that was previously removed so that it remained in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Department of State and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  In order to efficiently categorize the stone removed, all pieces were carefully measured in the field and numbered in sequence for identification for reinstallation.  A photographic inventory of the existing condition was completed, and work to be undertaken for each piece of stone was identified within the following categories: replacement-in-kind, stone to be patched and stone to be repaired through the placement of a “Dutchman.”


Additions to the space included new howitzer ramps along the riverfront belvedere steps, mahogany entrance doors and light standards, as well as the lifts, ramps, internally lit bronze handrails and path lights necessary to bring the complex into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unobtrusive security features were sensitively integrated into the landscape of the entire Pentagon River Terrace in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of State.   The restoration project was carried out in conjunction with the rehabilitation of the area directly below the River Terrace to be home to the DiLorenzo TRICARE Health Clinic. 


DBA submitted and successfully obtained reviews and permission from the US Commission of Fine Arts, National Capital Planning Commission, and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.