Residential/ Hospitality

Renovation/Adaptive Re-Use


Conference and Training










Graphic Design


Cultural Institute

Embassy of the United Mexican States

Washington, DC

The Mexican Cultural Institute was originally built in 1910-1911 for Franklin MacVeagh, then Secretary of the United States Treasury under President William Howard Taft.  Designed by Nathan C. Wyeth and constructed by the George A. Fuller Company, the 26-room mansion had the largest dining room in the city at the time.  Its 2nd floor drawing room walls feature 14-karat gold leaf.  

The Mexican government purchased the property in 1921.  In 1989, the Mexican Cultural Institute moved in. Its primary mission is to promote and disseminate among the local community, the vast and rich traditions of Mexico's cultural past and present.  Events range from cinema to gastronomy, literature, music and visual and performing arts.

The original mansion, fronting on 16th street, contains a variety of galleries, offices, meeting and support spaces.  Located on the property is a two-stall carriage house that fronts onto 15th street.

The project included the restoration of the building’s original historic fabric in concert with carefully crafted renovations, life safety and energy saving enhancements and systems upgrades.  New mechanical systems were installed, with ductwork and plumbing carefully laced through the building so as to allow the existing historic character and detail to be maintained throughout.  New fire protection sprinklers were installed, with new bulkheads, soffits and custom moldings created to provide for their routing, including the disassembly and reinstallation of selected historic pieces to allow for construction, with the end result being virtually invisible intrusions into the building’s original interior finishes.

The original carriage house’s exterior was renovated while its interior was adapted to create a modern two-bedroom, three bath guest house.

With Powe Jones Architects
Structural Engineer:  Holbert Apple Associates
MEP Engineers:  FACE Consultants

General Contractor:  Monarc Construction, Inc.

design:  2006

built:     2008