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Capitol Dome Successfully Restored

Capitol Dome Successfully Restored

The restored Capitol Dome.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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.

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.

The restoration successfully addressed those deficiencies and secured the artwork within the Rotunda including the iconic Apotheosis of Washington and the Frieze of American History.

"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.