Eastern Europe & Asia
West Virginia State Capitol
Combining state-of-the art material investigative technologies and traditional conservation procedures allowed the design team to restore dignity to this iconic historic landmark.
The dominant feature of West Virginia's State Capitol is its gilded dome, designed by Cass Gilbert based on Paris' Hotel des Invalides. Five restoration attempts since the dome's completion in 1932 have failed. Swanke won a commission to definitively return the grandeur to this architectural icon.
Designers assessed the most recent gilding campaign, making repair and maintenance recommendations and determined the exact causes for historic failures; improper surface preparation. Investigative work included a detailed, hands-on inspection of the dome and an accelerated testing and monitoring program of the recommended coating systems.
Swanke returned the dome to its original appearance using a durable coating system, while making necessary repairs to underlying architectural and structural deficiencies. A specialized plastic enclosure permitted construction to continue year round and maintained the precise temperature and humidity required for the gold leaf application. This seemingly simple tactic ensured the successful re-gilding of the dome and enabled the completion of the project nine months ahead of schedule. Swanke was subsequently commissioned to restore the facade of the building also.
© Swanke Hayden Connell Architects 2013