Projects and Services

John Runkle Architects, PLLC provides a full range of professional services to our valued clients as can be seen in the following selection of projects:

Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC
From 2005 to 2010, John Runkle served as the Cathedral Conservator of this massive, load-bearing structure built entirely of Indiana limestone, between the years of 1907 to 1990. John was responsible for the care of the entire building fabric, as well as the Cathedral’s fine art collections. The scale of projects ranged from completing the first survey of the building envelope to the conservation of historic building elements to the design and installation of new elements sympathetic to the context.



St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Washington, DC
Built in 1876, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as designated as a National Landmark because of its close associations with the Rev. Dr. Alexander Crummell, a 19th-century pioneer in African-American education and activism.
John Runkle surveyed the fabric of the historic church building, along with its 1961 addition, compiled an inventory of its condition, created a prioritized assessment report with estimated construction costs and submitted it to the Vestry for use as a strategic planning tool in making decisions about the proper care of the property.

General Services Administration, Washington, DC
From 1992 to 1994, while serving as the Principal Historical Architect for Frazier Associates, John Runkle served as a historic architectural consultant for the General Services Administration (GSA) on selected historic federal building projects in the National Capital Region of Washington, DC. The buildings included the International Trade Commission Building, former Navy Medical School Buildings, Department of Commerce Building, Department of Education Building, Federal Courthouse, Tax Court, Veteran’s Administration Building, and the Winder Building.  John’s responsibilities involved conducting in-depth historical research to determine the construction history of each building; submitting recommendations to GSA’s Historic Preservation Officer describing possible courses of action with historic building problems; providing analysis of original materials such as paint and mortar; preparing construction drawings and specifications for specialized restoration and conservation work; and reviewing the specialized construction in the field.
In this role, John was a member of large project teams of professionals consisting of architects, engineers, interior designers, fire protection specialists, and representatives from the respective federal departments and agencies housed in each building. With each project, a new team was assembled, who often had not worked together previously.  For these projects to be successful, he approached them with a spirit of coordination and cooperation, and cultivated the same attitude within the project team.
For a more detailed description of this project, please click here: GSA Report

Church of the Nativity, Episcopal, Huntsville, Alabama
This 1849 church building is a National Landmark, designed by the architect Frank Wills. As part of an extensive preservation project, John Runkle provided guidance and designs in restoring the interior of the historic worship space and reclaiming its character-defining features.






Wade’s Mill, Raphine, Virginia
The present four-story, stone and frame mill was rebuilt in the late 19th century, after the original 18th century mill structure was burned. The stone walls are the only original building fabric remaining. The variety of existing mill machinery is powered by both water and electricity.
While serving as the Principal Historical Architect for Frazier Associates, John Runkle worked with members of the staff to prepare a written building study for the restoration of the structure and the re-positioning of the machinery in order to clarify the building’s evolution. John spent much time on the job site working closely with the owner and specialty contractors to resolve the inevitable challenges that occur in restoring historic structures.

Sugar Loaf Farm, Augusta County, Virginia
Sugar Loaf Farm is a 2000 acre agricultural complex that has been in continuous operation since the 18th century.  Several structures on the property date to the early 19th century, which include a brick mill, miller’s house, farmhouse and stone springhouse.  Other historic structures include a bank barn and various outbuildings.
While serving as the Principal Historical Architect for Frazier Associates, John Runkle worked with members of the staff to prepare a historic structures report which allowed the firm to make informed and appropriate decisions concerning the course of action for each historic building.


Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation, Staunton, Virginia
Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States, was born in this 1846 Greek Revival manse in 1856.  The structure is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Historic American Buildings Survey, and the Virginia Landmarks Register.  The solid masonry structure has undergone extensive restoration over the years, but continued to suffer from moisture and humidity concerns that affected the building and its collections.
While serving as the Principal Historical Architect for Frazier Associates, John Runkle and the firm were hired as the historical architecture team member of a multi-disciplinary group, which included structural and mechanical engineers and environmental conservators, who studied the causes of these problems and recommended solutions.
This year-long study sponsored by a grant from the Institute of Museum Services included daily monitoring of environmental conditions in various spaces of the building as well as historical research and selected building investigations.

The Plumb House Museum, Waynesboro, Virginia
Built circa 1810-20, the Plumb House was home to five generations of the Plumb Family, until it was acquired by the city of Waynesboro in the 1994.  In 1865, the house was caught in the midst of the Civil War Battle of Waynesboro.  The house’s main block is a two-story, three-bay log structure that is relatively unaltered, while it also displays several building additions made over the intervening years.  In addition to the main house, several outbuildings exist on the site that were constructed during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and contribute to the historic significance of the property.
While serving as the Principal Historical Architect for Frazier Associates, John Runkle and the firm completed measured drawings of the house and outbuildings, accessed the condition of all historic structures, and prepared a written report with recommendations and budget estimates for a prescribed scope of work.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
In 2010, Holy Trinity Cathedral was destroyed completely by a devastating earthquake. In 2011, John Runkle began working with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and the Episcopal Church Center in New York to develop a strategy to design and build a new Cathedral that will be larger than the previous, while incorporating three of the world-famous murals salvaged from the ruins.  In October 2013, an Initial Design for the new Cathedral, which was created in partnership with the Kerns Group Architects, was presented to the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council and now the necessary funds are being raised for construction. While the design of the new Cathedral is contemporary, it recalls two elements that are fundamental to the collective self-identity of the Haitian people – the mountains and the lush, tropical vegetation. The new Cathedral complex will serve, not only as an inspiration to the Haitians, but as an anchor in the efforts to rebuild and revitalize central Port-au-Prince.

Washington National Cathedral Environmental Doors, Washington DC
As Cathedral Conservator at Washington National Cathedral, John Runkle worked with Quinn Evans Architects to design and install a pair of exterior glass doors that would allow the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, located at the Crypt level of the North Transept, to be heated and cooled. Not only is the design sympathetic to the Gothic-Revival style of the building, but incorporates an electronic locking mechanism that allows Cathedral security to control access to the chapel.





Washington National Cathedral Nave Crossing Platform, Washington DC
As Cathedral Conservator at Washington National Cathedral, John Runkle led the effort to design, fabricate and install the new Nave Crossing Platform. While the design of the new platform is visually compatible with interior of the worship space, it is also portable, with the capability of being either dismantled or enlarged to accommodate the variety of events that take place at this primary location in the Cathedral.



DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Gallery, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia
An extended period of heavy rain flooded the underground levels of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Gallery and the Public Hospital at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. A rapid and sophisticated plan of response was put in action by the Foundation staff.
To avoid contamination of the museum’s sophistical mechanical systems with molds and mildew, all water-damaged building materials had to be physically removed from the building as quickly as possible and replaced with new. All new construction materials brought into the building had to be thoroughly screened for chemicals that could cause deterioration to museum artifacts.
To prevent potential future flooding, new storm drainage systems and mechanical areaway shafts were designed and installed in cooperation with the building’s architect of record.
John Runkle served as the project architect for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and managed this complex restoration work so the museum could return to public service as quickly as possible.

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Temple Hills, Maryland
John Runkle surveyed the fabric of the 1851 church building, compiled an inventory of its condition, created a prioritized assessment report with estimated construction costs and submitted it to the Vestry for use as a strategic planning tool in making decisions about the proper care of the property.




St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee
This urban church consists of several buildings that occupy an entire city block. Its primary worship space was designed by the noted architect, William Halsey Wood, built in 1886, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  John Runkle prepared an assessment of the entire property and made written recommendations to parish leadership encouraging a capital campaign to undertake a number of significant projects.



St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Hot Springs, Virginia
John Runkle surveyed the fabric of the 1899 church building, compiled an inventory of its condition, created a prioritized assessment report with estimated construction costs and submitted it to the Vestry for use as a strategic planning tool in making decisions about the proper care of the property. In addition, John guided the parish in finding specialized artisans to conserve several works of art.




Before any work is done on a historic structure, research first should be completed on the history of the building, along with measured drawings, photo documentation and a condition assessment. This information can be assembled into a useful document called a historic structure report that can guide future work in an informed, professional manner.
While serving as the Principal Historical Architect for Frazier Associates, John Runkle was involved in preparing numerous reports on the conditions of historic structures with recommendations for remedial work and associated costs. Likewise, while serving as Cathedral Conservator at Washington National Cathedral, John led the effort to prepare the first comprehensive survey of the Cathedral’s building fabric in its history. As a result, both Cathedral governance and its maintenance department had the technical and budgetary information it needed to adopt a policy of pro-active preservation of the building.
For a more detailed description of an example of a historic structure report, please click here.  Click this link for another example.

Many congregations are reclaiming the ancient role of church as a place of burial for its members when they die, along with the installation of memorials, tablets and inscriptions in thanksgiving for a life of service for certain individuals. John Runkle Architects, PLLC has considerable experience in this sensitive field of design.

Washington National Cathedral Garth Columbarium, Washington, DC
As Cathedral Conservator at Washington National Cathedral, John Runkle worked with several governance committees to develop a design for an exterior columbarium, to be constructed in the Cathedral’s Garth that would inter cremated remains in biodegradable containers underground with simple, elegant markers discretely located on a garden wall.






Tablets and Inscriptions
Also at Washington National Cathedral, John Runkle guided the efforts to recognize certain individuals who made significant contributions to the ongoing life of the Cathedral community through the design and placement of carved stone tablets and inscriptions.







DSC02091.01St. Mary’s Sewanee, Sewanee, Tennessee
While serving as the Executive Director of St. Mary’s Sewanee, John Runkle worked with a landscape architect to design and install a memorial to celebrate the life of a beloved trustee. The memorial includes both architectural elements and landscape materials of native species that recalls much of the character of the deceased.



Christ Episcopal Church, Roanoke, Virginia
While serving as the Associate Rector, John Runkle led the effort to design and install a new building sign that heightens the awareness of the church’s name on a busy city street, while being sympathetic in appearance to the architecture of the building.






Not only is John Runkle Architects, PLLC capable of successfully managing large-scale, historic preservation projects, but we also can direct our skills to the intricate details involved in the design of attractive, well-crafted furnishings.

Altar, Otey Memorial Parish, Sewanee, Tennessee

Pulpit, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rock Creek, Washington, DC

Baptismal Font, All Saints’ Chapel, Sewanee, Tennessee









Our extensive network of contacts throughout the preservation communities and the religious building arts allows John Runkle Architects, PLLC to bring the best talent to bear in service to our clients. Not only do our specialists work to conserve historically significant objects and materials, but also are well-experienced in the creation of new designs that are compatible with historic settings. Our list of numerous artists and artisans derives from years of positive working relationships on quality projects.
John Runkle Architects, PLLC offers significant experience in the specialized areas of stained glass windows, stone carvings, metal work, fabric arts, icons and rare books. Click on each image for more details.













John Runkle Architects, PLLC is willing to offer its skills and experiences in consultation with other architecture firms who do not have the necessary historic preservation experience to qualify for certain large, complex projects. We are well-versed in the protocol of the preservation industry and can assist in negotiating the challenges to reach a successful conclusion.

In the summer seasons of 1988 and 1992, John Runkle was invited to join an international team of archaeological specialists in the search for Sijilmasa, a lost medieval Islamic city located on the edge of the Sahara Desert in the southeastern region of present day Morocco.
John’s responsibilities included:
Preparing a survey of the archaeological site, approximately 50 hectares in size, locating the ruins of the city walls and major buildings, the location of all test pits and trenches, as well as the topography of terrain.
Converting the above field data into graphic maps for use by the project team.
Preparing measured drawings of significant trench levels as they are unearthed and notable artifacts once they are available.