Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.


Office of Planning

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Historic Preservation Office Completes Standards for Signage, Awnings, and Marquees

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

(Washington, DC) - The DC Historic Preservation Office has completed design and installation standards for signage, awnings and marquees on Washington’s historic landmarks and in historic districts. These standards provide business, residential, and institutional property owners a clear guide to the “do’s and don’ts” of installing these common features that have such a major impact on the visual appearance of the city’s historic streetscapes.

New signs are an opportunity for stylistic imagination and graphic excellence. Vintage and historic signs express distinctive characteristics or aesthetics of an earlier period and provide character to historic property. Historic signage that has survived for many decades is often the only visual reminder of long-forgotten businesses and modes of commercial advertising. Whether new or old, creative and attractive signage adds much to the quality of everyday life in our urban neighborhoods.

Awnings and their associated signage can significantly affect the appearance and architectural character of historic buildings and districts. Improper awning installation can also cause permanent damage to the materials and ornamentation of historic facades.

Unlike more transitory signs and awnings, marquees are permanent architectural elements traditionally associated with larger buildings of a public or semi-public nature, such as apartment houses, hotels, department stores, theaters, and office buildings. Marquees add both richness and grandeur of Washington’s architecture, and nighttime excitement to a trip to the theater.

The standards for signage, awnings, and marquees join the existing window standards as one of the workhorse chapters of the city’s historic preservation regulations. The Office of Planning’s historic preservation staff uses these standards on a daily basis as a technical guide and objective standard that helps streamline the review of proposed work for more than 4,500 permit applicants who complete the preservation review process each year.

The guidelines will be promulgated for final legal adoption in the fall of 2008.