Kansas Statehouse Masonry Restoration
Mark 1 Restoration
Architect: Treanor Architects
General Contractor: JE Dunn Construction Company
Suppliers: Quarra Stone Company, LLC
Owner: State of Kansas Office of Facilities and Property Management
The Kansas Statehouse Masonry Restoration was a comprehensive restoration project, intended to provide repairs with an anticipated life of 50-100 years. As part of the work to prepare the bid documents, every stone on the capitol was given a unique identifier, assessed, and cataloged on elevations and in repair schedules. Aided by the use of archival materials, most repairs were dated and the efficacy of the materials and methods involved evaluated. This process affirmed the use of traditional repair techniques, particularly Dutchman repairs (partial or full stone replacement), as a best practice for achieving the desired durability.
Guidelines and details for executing very precise, high quality Dutchman, in sizes from 3 cubic inches up to 35 cubic foot full replacement, were developed as part of the construction documents. Shop drawings were required for all Dutchman to ensure that the repair, including the anchorage, was coordinated and met the specified quality level. With over 6,000 such repairs, coordination of fabricator, contractor, and architectural field and shop drawing reviews was essential to keep the project on schedule. Extensive use of electronic communication and documentation aided this process.
Dutchman repairs were made to every stone type on the Statehouse: ashlars, window moldings, cornices, fluted columns, Corinthian capitals, and modillion brackets. This work involved matching four types of limestone and four types of granite. The capital building was constructed in three distinct phases between 1866 and 1903, each phase exhibits unique hand tooled finishes on stones and the details of hand carved elements varies with each phase. Achieving the specified visual blending of new repairs with the historic stone required the use of hand tooling to replicate the various finishes and carvings. All partial Dutchman were specified to be set proud of the remaining historic material with hairline tight joints and dressed in place to blend.
In addition to the Dutchman repairs, the entire 210,000 square foot façade was cleaned and fully repointed. Thousands of miscellaneous repairs were also performed, including crack stitching, redressing, and patching. Sealant, flashing, gutter and roof repairs were performed as part of the restoration. Finally, bird netting was installed to protect column and pilaster capitals.
Execution of the work involved the installation of fixed, suspended, and moveable scaffolds, and the use of multiple lifts and cranes. Repairs to the drum below the dome required the installation of an engineered shoring platform to support scaffold loads. A 358 foot tall free-standing tower crane was erected to enable hoisting stones, weighing up to 5,000 lbs, for cornice repairs.
In order to execute the vast number of high-quality repairs required for the project, and meet the ambitious four year construction schedule, work was performed year-round and provisions for temporary enclosures and heating were implemented.
The resulting restoration, completed in December 2011, honors the original hand crafted stone, prolongs the life of the building, and renews the splendor of the Kansas Statehouse, listed on the Kansas and National Registers of Historic Places.
Date of Project Completion: December 2011
2012 Kansas Preservation Alliance Award for Historic Buildings
Photography by Michelle Palmer