Behind the scaffolding, restoration of the sandstone and metal entablature on the west wing of the Capitol is almost complete. In April, the scaffolding will be removed from the west wing and relocated to cover the east wing of the building.
WHY RESTORATION IS NEEDED
Did you know that the upper part of the exterior of the Capitol is made of galvanized metal, not stone? The upper entablature, cornice, pediments and parapet walls above the stone pilaster capitals consist of galvanized metal. Similar to many buildings of the late 19th century, the metal was originally painted to resemble the color and texture of the sandstone masonry below.
A south elevation drawing showing where the mental entablature is on the Capitol, from the level I Reconnaissance and Level II Feasibility Study.
Like the masonry, the metal entablature is over 125-years old and needs repair. When the entablature was studied, some of the conditions included bent or deformed metal profiles, cracks in the metal, poorly executed joints that have been sealed with sealant, missing ornament from the pediments, and peeling paint exposing the bare metal underneath. In some locations, corrosion is visible where paint has peeled, in other areas there are open cracks in the metal, allowing water to infiltrate the building.
A closer look at the existing metal entablature and pediment, the term for the triangular part of the entablature. Part of the metal has been peeled away to allow workers to study the condition of the condition of the masonry back-up.
The owner and design team studied the metal entablature in various efforts over the past several years. This photo is from before work was started. Notice the piece of wire securing it to the building.
As part of the Capitol restoration efforts, all the metal entablature is being removed and replaced with new sheet metal. The only external features that are being cleaned, repaired and returned are the historic decorative elements like the modillions and the pediments. Additionally, a new steel structure is being put in place to attach the entablature securely to the building. The entablature is being painted to match the sandstone.
Among the first steps is to remove the old galvanized metal from the building and determine the best way to secure the new elements to the original brick on the building. This photo shows the roof line.
A new steel structure is put in place also along the roof line. You can see the new copper flashing just below the steel structure.
Brand new sheet metal with historic modillions re-attached have been put into place. The dentils (the pieces of metal that look like teeth) are also new.
RESTORATION OF THE HISTORIC DECORATIVE ELEMENTS
In October 2016, the metal pediment was removed from the Capitol. The pediments on the North and South Elevations are decorated with floral patterns, like the one in this photo, while circular motifs adorn the pediments on the east and west elevations.
The triangle space where one of the pediments was removed for repair and cleaning. Here the new steel structure is being put in place. The peeling paint is on a section of the old metal, yet to be removed.
The triangle space where one of the pediments was removed for repair and cleaning. Here the new steel structure is being put in place.
One of the historic decorative pediments has been cleaned, repaired and placed back on the building surrounded by new sheet metal and safely secured by a new steel structure.
A circular motif is featured on the pediment on the west site elevation. This one has been replaced with new metal.
One of the old decorative elements, called a modillion, has been removed so that the restoration contractor can investigate how to reuse the historic elements on the entablature and pediments.
Brand new sheet metal with historic modillions re-attached have been put into place. Right below them is new steel structure. The historic modillions, which are a darker gray than the shiny new sheet metal, are being cleaned, repaired and put back on the building.
New flashing is being installed to ensure a weather-tight system.
OLD VERSUS NEW
Old meets new. Workers are almost finished with the repairs to the entablature on the west side of the building and will start moving scaffolding to the east side.