Yesterday, the State of Kansas, JE Dunn Construction, Stuart Dean Company and Treanor Architects were presented the North American Copper in Architecture Award for their restoration of the Kansas Statehouse’s intricate copper inner dome.
The Kansas Statehouse was among only 12 projects in North America to be acknowledged for the use of architectural copper and copper alloys. The award was presented by the Copper Development Association and the Canadian Copper & Brass Development Association (CCBDA), the organizations that sponsor the awards program, at a special event held during the 2015 AIA National Convention in Atlanta, Ga.
An excerpt from the award application describes the inner dome: “The capitol displays exquisite decorative metal work throughout the building, of which the inner dome’s copper metal work is a prime example. The underside of the inner dome is comprised of cast iron columns with sheet metal paneled bases and ionic capitals evenly spaced around the rotunda’s circumference. An ornamental wrought iron metal railing fills the spaces and creates a grille work between the columns. There are eight round arch head windows evenly spaced around the rotunda wall at the walkway running behind the inner dome that create light and reflectance off the copper sheet metal. Formed copper sheet metal segmental arches span from column to column and have pressed ornamentation at the spandrels. These arches and columns support a copper sheet metal cornice with dentil molding, and above the columns is decorative copper sheet metal encapsulating the structural ribs forming the interior dome. The bottom panel of the dome is painted with a garland motif, and above that are translucent panels that provide illumination to the rotunda below.”
Kansas Statehouse inner dome before restoration.
Restoring the historic copper required a process of stripping, cleaning, tinting and testing. The cleaning alone took 6,000 man hours.
With the stripping and cleaning complete, the copper had a like-new appearance. To provide a “10-year aged look”, tinted lacquer was applied. Over 75 gallons of tinted and clear lacquer were used to finish the inner dome restoration.
In total, nearly 164 feet of scaffolding was used to reach the apex of the inner dome. Scaffolding was erected within the rotunda starting at the first level and ending in a dance floor platform (show in picture). Portable scaffolding was used to reach the inner dome from the dance floor platform.
Kansas Statehouse inner dome after restoration. Photo by Aaron Dougherty Photography.