Oatlands: Leesburg; Woodrow Wilson House: Washington, DC

Oatlands Historic House and Gardens and Woodrow Wilson House Assessments

Scope of Services
Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) Engineering

Historic landmarks, Oatlands Historic House (1806) and the Woodrow Wilson House (1919), were originally constructed without air conditioning and relied on natural ventilation; essentially operating that way until present day. To improve visitor and staff comfort and meet goals of energy efficiency, preservation of the historic elements, and sustaining the authentic experience of their properties, the National Trust for Historic Preservation wanted to assess the viability of re-introducing natural ventilation paired with an efficient and smart system.

2RW Project Case Study Main Image

2RW conducted assessments of natural ventilation opportunities for each of these buildings. This involved evaluation of the existing Historic American Buildings Survey and on-site investigations of the building as-built conditions.

A report was prepared summarizing existing conditions and strategies to re-establish historic methods for enhancing occupant comfort. These strategies included reactivating natural ventilation means inherent to the historic structures, enhanced by modern technologies.

In conjunction with the assessments, 2RW took into consideration NTHP’s guiding principles, including preserving and maintaining the buildings’ historic character; promoting the health, safety, and well-being of all occupants; and supporting the NTHP’s commitment to sustainability.


The findings indicated that natural ventilation through means available in the existing structure and architecture at the Oatlands Historic House, paired with fans and automated controls to enhance the airflow quantity could be incorporated with minimal investment and disturbance of the historic architectural integrity.

At Woodrow Wilson House, the findings indicated that the existing original structure has ample means for utilizing original exterior openings and clerestory windows for natural ventilation, which also can be enhanced in a manner similar to Oatlands. Further consideration of such was incorporated into the scope of work for an RFP related to the replacement of the failing heating system for this building.

Scope of Services
Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) Engineering

OWNER: National Trust for Historic Preservation

TIMEFRAME: 2021 – 2022

SIZE: Oatlands: 8,200 SF; Woodrow Wilson House: 10,00 SF


U.S. National Register of Historic Places