At times, RATIO’s various projects at the presidential site have required more detective work than design flair. Archeological digs have uncovered original site components. Surveys of century-old photographs have enabled historically-accurate repairs and reconstructions. And careful inspections of remaining furnishings, and of original receipts for missing items, have led to precise restoration and preservation of important design details.
Early projects at the site included reconstructing the original carriage house; restoring the main house’s interior—including wall coverings, floors and fixtures; improving accessibility to all levels of the building; and modernizing aging infrastructure and systems, all without compromising the site’s historic integrity. Additional work has included a comprehensive interior restoration, including the precise recreation of original paint colors and wall coverings. At the core of each project is RATIO’s dedication to understand every detail of Benjamin Harrison and the home he created, and to tell that story the way the former president would want it to be told.
Most recently, the RATIO team created a ceremonial arrival experience suitable for a presidential site and its visitors, many of whom are young students studying U.S. history and a local icon’s role in shaping it. A new citizenship plaza will also set the stage for the naturalization services that take place at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, with design features that celebrate the foundations of American democracy, and that inspire new citizens’ participation in it.