This morning, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP, announced that the first comprehensive restoration of the Capitol Dome in more than half a century is complete.
"The Dome was in dire need of repair and with the help and leadership of Congress, we repaired more than 1,300 cracks and deficiencies in the cast iron. We repaired or recast intricate ornaments, gutters and balustrades. The team used both innovative technology and historical tradecrafts to repair the Dome. Our work revealed and preserved exquisite craftsmanship that went into the construction of the Dome. We removed hazardous materials, upgraded electrical and mechanical systems and finally, repainted the Rotunda and the Dome," said Ayers.
Dome Restoration: A Mega Team Effort
Work on the project began in 2014 with a goal of completing the restoration by the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. Because the Capitol Dome is predominately made of cast iron, exposure to rain, snow, sleet and sun causes damage to its exterior. Water infiltrates through pin holes in the Statue of Freedom, and through cracks and open joints throughout the exterior shell including the tholos balustrade, the base of the cupola and the boilerplate balcony level. Leaks in the interstitial space promote the rusting of the ironwork and the failure of the protective paint coatings.
"I am so proud of our team. They worked through the night and in all kinds of weather – from snow storms to scorching hot summer days. We successfully met our deadlines and did so under budget. It is important that we take a moment to celebrate and share the fine work done here. Thank you for your support and patience as we restored this beautiful building for all to appreciate and enjoy," said Ayers.
The latest edition of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) employee magazine, Tholos, is now available. Article themes include Doing Good, By the Numbers, Before & After, Employee Highlights, Spotlight on Safety, Beyond the Dome, and AOC Gratitude.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Capitol Visitor Center and the Conservatory of the United States Botanic Garden will temporarily close to the public until further notice to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus (COVID-19). The outdoor gardens and grounds remain open.