DOWNTOWN - A Capitol Reconstruction Project - Newly Completed
Glimpses, following photo's by Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune
Amid dust and protective sheeting, artisans in hard hats scurry to finish
By Rebecca Walsh
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Launched: 01/23/2007 01:10:28 AM MST
Construction crews begin to lay down the new floor on the first level rotunda which will eventually become the governor portrait room.
The governor's ceremonial office keeps its original ceiling as numerous other renovations continue at the Utah State Capitol
Looking East toward the supreme court, construction crews begin to dissasemble the scafforlding that once filled the entire space within the Utah Capitol. With the upper rotunda nearly completely repainted, definite changes are taking place with the project scheduled to be completed in one more year.
A recent Capitol tour reveals the progress that's been made along with areas that still have a ways to go, including the house of representatives undergoing painting and restoration.
A construction worker applies plaster to the ceilings near the East atrium as work continues at the Utah Capitol currently undergoing seismic reinforcements and updates.
Facing West toward the house of representatives, construction crews begin to dissasemble the scaffolding which once filled the entire atrium at the Utah State Capitol. The seismic updates are scheduled to be completed in one year with the grand opening on Jan. 4, 2008.
Nearing completion, the supreme courts paint and gold leaf details have been updated as work contiunes on the Utah Capitol.
Restoration of decorative pillars, seen here in the house of representatives and seismic updating of the Utah Capitol continues with a planned grand opening on Jan. 4, 2008.
A gold leaf ornament is intricate and detailed. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune)
David Hart, Capitol architect for the state, points out the ceiling elements of the gold room as its renovation nears completion. The grand opening of the state Capitol is set for Jan. 4, 2008. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune
Details in gold leaf have been updated on top of the Supreme Court's entrance at the Capitol as work continues with a year left to go. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune)
The changes inside Utah's Capitol are subtle.
Glimpses of the freshly de-grimed murals that circle the Rotunda are visible through a network of scaffolding. Watery winter sunlight filters through cleaned skylights in the east and west atriums, highlighting new baby blue and pink paint. Plaster patching snakes over all the ceilings like a spider web.
Lower levels of the building still look like something out of "The Lord of the Rings," with puddles of standing water, the occasional flare of a welder's torch and fluffy piles of concrete dust kicked up in the frigid air.
But upstairs, hints of the Victorian gilt that adorned the seat of state government when it first opened in 1916 are starting to reappear.
After three years of demolition and Port-o-Potties and Visqueen sheeting, the Capitol is starting to look more like itself - albeit a more mahogany and mauve version of itself.
"You'll see colors you've never seen before," says Dave Marshall, general superintendent for Jacobsen-Hunt, the construction firms overseeing the rebuilding project.
In one year, the building will reopen to elected leaders and the public. In the meantime, the work of filling in the gutted granite shell is starting in earnest.
"It's changing so fast that every time I come in, something's different," says Capitol Architect David Hart.
To the eye, the transformation is more gradual. Windows still are blocked with plywood and plastic. A village of 70 subcontractors' trailers clusters south of the building in the dirt. The center of the first floor is a precarious hole.
The Capitol closed in the summer of 2004 to allow construction crews to shore it up to withstand an earthquake and, at the same time, reverse years of utilitarian and historically clumsy remodeling projects, returning the building to its genteel glory.
The $250 million seismic retrofit and restoration project is at its peak, with 350 workers toiling in the building, screwing in metal lathe and Sheetrock, slathering plaster mud on new walls and delicately filling divots in the marble-veneered walls with a mixture of rock dust and cement.
In the basement, crews are installing the last of 280 base isolators - giant sliders that will allow the building to sway two feet side to side, but intact, in a temblor. In March, the building will be cut free from its old footings and allowed to rest on the isolators.
Until then, the most delicate work of the entire project - decorative painting and restoration of the murals - goes on in a fine cloud of dust.
"Right now, dust is the enemy," Hart says. "I'll feel much better when the scaffolding is down and the dust is gone."
Art restorer Carmen Bria climbed up and down 12 flights of scaffolding in 90-degree heat for six weeks last summer as part of a crew that de-grimed, "in-painted" and repaired water damage and a hole in Father Escalante's ear - at times lying on their stomachs - before revarnishing the murals that encircle the Capitol rotunda.
Preservationists, including Bria, from the Denver-based Western Center of the Conservation of Fine Arts will return to Utah in February to restore a mural in the Senate gallery. Artists from the center have worked in the Colorado and Oklahoma capitols as well as several post offices.
"We've never worn hard hats before," Bria says. "It's just an incredibly complex project to try to coordinate."
The whole building smells of paint. Painting and mural restoration is about $2.8 million of the project budget and nearly every surface in the building will get a new coat. The Supreme Court Chamber's gold paint and leafing have been replaced. The walls are a deep plum color - rather than the blues and taupes more modern tastes dictated. Trim in the historic Gold Room is being painted a light lavender - it looks creamy against the surrounding color scheme.
Work in the Senate and House chambers is on a different schedule. The House's old pink and green color scheme is evident. And water damage still mars the ceiling of the Senate. Crews are stripping the iron scrollwork railings in the galleries and applying gold leaf. And painters are beginning decorative painting of the plasterwork.
While work chugs on inside the building, furniture restorers, carpenters and artists have been commissioned to create the trappings that will fill the chambers and offices.
Two Utah artists have been selected to paint murals for pendentives above the doors in the House and Senate chambers. Both Cache Valley painters have been sworn to secrecy about the subjects, but they are expected to be scenes from Utah's history. Legislative leaders want to unveil the paintings during public open houses next fall.
David Koch is painting two 8-by-10-foot murals for the House in his parents' garage - the only space large enough to do the work.
"It's the biggest painting that I've done to date," Koch says. He's thrilled at the idea his art will join works by Utah artists Lee Green Richards and H.L.A. (Harry) Culmer.
"To be included in that group is just a little bit daunting to me," Koch says. "It would be a milestone for any artist to have a work in a government building. It's historically significant."
Designers and contractors working on the $250-million restoration of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City have teamed up to bridge a 90-year gap between the past and future, with a complex base-isolation system at the core of the project.
"Initially, when we were looking at the building, the number-one concern was life safety," says David Hart, executive director of the Capitol Preservation Board and the Capitol architect. "And as we looked at life-safety issues, we realized that to save the building, it would basically need to be gutted."
That's because the 320,000-sq-ft historic structure is located along the Wasatch Fault, a 170-mi.-long segmented normal-fault system that geologists and other seismic experts predict will eventually produce an earthquake with potentially cataclysmic results.
Built in 1915, the concrete Capitol is being stripped down to its bare essentials while leaving most of the historic pieces intact.
tructural improvements include new concrete load-bearing walls in addition to the base-isolation system of 265 base isolators and 15 sliders being installed under 280 of the 380 concrete columns that support the building.
"It's a monumental task," says Kevin Brown, project manager for Jacobsen-Hunt, the joint venture general contractor of Jacobsen Construction Co. Inc., Salt Lake City; and Hunt Construction Group, Scottsdale. "It's extremely challenging installing that many isolators in a very confined working space."
Construction includes new exterior and interior shear walls as part of the structural upgrade. All columns and exterior decorations will also be better tied to the structure to prevent tipping or falling during an earthquake.
Photo courtesy of Harrison Co.
Hunt's Dennis Sexhauer adds, "Just the fact that it's an existing building makes it a more difficult process. The historic nature and all the irreplaceable historic fabric require so much more time and effort. One-third of construction time is purely in the protection of historic elements."
A De-Coupling Strategy
The design strategy of the base-isolation system is basically "to de-couple the building from the ground," says Jerod Johnson, project engineer for Reaveley Engineers and Associates Inc., Salt Lake City, which teamed with Forell/Elsesser of San Francisco on the structural design. "The objective is not to move the building at all. If it does move, we want to minimize that to 1/16-in. tolerances. So far, we've experienced nothing that big-more like one-thousandth of an inch."
In June, crews began installing the first base isolators-cylindrical devices consisting of laminated layers of rubber and steel plates that surround an energy-absorbing lead core. Manufactured by DBI, Reno, the isolators range from 34 to 44 in. across and are about 20 in. tall. Harris Rebar, Salt Lake City, built the rebar-intensive reinforcing systems under each of the four massive rotunda piers.
The 15 sliders-located where the columns are not carrying the extreme loads supported by base isolators-are larger because the entire building must be able to handle 2 ft of earthquake displacement in any direction. A slider is a Teflon pad-bearing mechanism resting on an 18-in.-diameter stainless steel plate.
Micropile Suspension System
Before installing the base isolators, the soil at the Utah State Capitol site had to be reinforced with a unique micropile suspension system designed by Jerry Bishop of Geotechnical Design, Salt Lake City. The system must be able to handle the immense loads of a building weighing more than 130 million lbs, with another 30-plus million expected to be added in new structural concrete and steel.
Bishop utilized a Titan Hollow Bar system, which originated in Europe more than 20 years ago, and was initially introduced to the Intermountain region in the mid-'90s.
Approximately 3,000 individual micropiles were drilled up to 30 ft into the ground. The micropiles, which are hollow and include a sacrificial drill bit, are filled with a water-cement grout mixture (45% water-to-cement) discharged out the bottom of the hole after it has been drilled. The water-cement mixture combines with sand and gravel to form a 3,000 to 4,000 psi concrete shell around each micropile.
"We kind of pioneered the use of this system in Utah," says Bishop. "Doing it on this type of scale has never been done as far as I know, at least not in Utah. Once they transfer the load outward, it could not have movement of more than three-eighths of an inch."
David Hart, the Capitol architect, adds: "Soil reinforcement on this project-to be able to hold the loads of the transfer-has been a key aspect. Jerry had to make sure that whatever he was putting into the ground was going to be able to support those loads."
One of 265 base isolators being installed under columns.
Photo courtesy Michael Dunn, Dunn Communications
The isolators and sliders are designed to dramatically reduce the seismic impact of a major earthquake. If they work as intended, a quake that measures 8.0 on the Richter scale would have an impact on the Capitol equal to a 5.5 earthquake. When the lateral force of the earthquake pushes against the isolator, it stretches horizontally, so that, rather than shaking apart, the Capitol will slide back and forth on the isolator bearings, reducing the structural impact of the seismic forces.
But installing the isolators is tricky. New 5-ft-wide concrete load-transfer beams are cast around existing columns and utilize temporary loading, pancake jacks for support. When the jack is opened, the column loads travel through the load-transfer beams and into the jack, temporarily taking the load off the column, which is then cut off below the load-transfer beams.
The project also includes restoration of the plaza to the design of original Capitol architect Richard Kletting, with new walkways and access points.
Crews slide the base isolators under the beams and lift them into place, essentially hanging them from the load-transfer beams. An area below the isolator is excavated so that a new footing and pedestal fills the gap between the footing and the isolator. The load path from the column is transferred into the isolator and the new footing.
Any remaining space is filled using a water-inflated flat jack to transfer the column load onto the new footing. Eventually, the water in the flat jack is replaced with epoxy under full load for permanent structural support.
"One of the ways we evaluated this structure was with a finite element analysis model," says Mason Walters, principal for Forell/Elsesser. "The computational method allows us to mathematically characterize the properties of all the components of the load-transfer system in great detail. It allows us to mathematically simulate the effects of the loadings, as well as the reinforcement in the post-tensioning. In so doing, it allows us to calculate the stresses and the deformations [the building] will go through in a lifetime, including earthquake loading."
Design Workshops Were Critical to the Project's Success
Eighteen months before ground was broken on the Utah State Capitol restoration in September 2004, design and construction team members went through a series of 20 workshops to ensure that the project stayed within stringent budget and schedule requirements.
The workshops covered numerous issues, ranging from designing complicated structural, electrical and mechanical system elements, to items as basic as what kind of light fixtures to install. There was one goal in mind-to preserve the historical integrity of the Capitol while incorporating into the building all the modern conveniences of the 21st Century.
"A fairly unique part of this project is that the contractor and the designers were selected at the same time," says Lonnie Bullard, president and CEO of Jacobsen Construction Co. Inc., Salt Lake City. "So we started working jointly on this project. In fact, the team moved on site together-that rarely ever happens.
ow you have the preconstruction team, the architectural team and designers in the same complex working together and solving problems."
The workshops allowed the team to carefully analyze every aspect of the building, then put it back together conceptually. "It was a very intense process, but a very worthwhile process on a project like this," Bullard says.
Dennis Sexhauer, a principal with Hunt Construction Group, Scottsdale, says: "It was an extensive process-the owner mandated it. It was phenomenal. We brought in the entire team early on in the process. As each session went on, they would bring in whatever players were necessary and tear away ideas and thoughts to determine the best way to go forward."
The best part is that the budget has remained intact, despite major hikes in construction material costs and a shortage of skilled labor, says David Hart, the Capitol architect. "From a budget standpoint, [Jacobsen-Hunt] has done a great job managing this project," Hart says. "One of the things I feel best about on this project is the collaboration that has happened. The architects and the contractors are working so well with us. We have been able to find things and solve things before they become problems."
Change orders to date have totaled between $500,000 and $600,000-less than one-half of 1% of the $250-million-plus budget, Hart says.
The entire building was gutted down to the original support walls and columns, then reinforced with new concrete walls.
Photo courtesy Michael Dunn, Dunn Communications
Hart adds: "Base isolation is driving the entire ship. The reason for base isolation is to allow the building to experience an earthquake at a much lower force. When base isolation is complete, the building will be subjected to only 1 G of force as opposed to 7 Gs of force."
City Hall, the world's first historic building to use base-isolation process.
The Capitol-scheduled for completion by November 2007-is the second historical restoration project in Utah to use base isolation. The first was the City County Building in Salt Lake City, done by Jacobsen Construction in 1987, and the first historic building in the world to utilize a base-isolation process.
"It's certainly a once-in-a-lifetime project," says Lonnie Bullard, president/CEO of Jacobsen Construction. "We're fortunate to be associated with a project that is a historic building, that has been here for decades and will be here for another hundred years."
"Base isolation is driving the entire ship.
The reason for base isolation is to allow the building to experience an earthquake at a much lower force."
Today Capitol Hill appears much more like Kletting had envisioned it than it did at the Capitol’s initial dedication in 1916. Practical challenges, including financial limitations, prevented Kletting’s designs from being fully realized in the twentieth century. But now, a century later, these ideas have become the basis for the Capitol’s modern restoration. In response to studies concluding that the Capitol building was vulnerable to a moderate size earthquake, the Utah State Legislature created the Capitol Preservation Board to oversee the seismic upgrade, restoration and preservation of the Capitol. Shortly thereafter, the Board hired David Harris Hart, AIA - a successful Utah architect, as the architect of the Capitol and executive director to the Board. Together they began a Master Plan to strengthen the Capitol against seismic dangers and to restore the building to Kletting’s original plan. On January 4, 2008, the renovation was complete and the Capitol was rededicated. It now stands as the symbol of state democracy.
Rooms in the Capitol
American Institute of Architects:
AIA - In public projects, some reason other than historical interest or necessary restoration is often the impetus for beginning. At the Utah Capitol, for instance, a seismic fault adjacent to the site motivated a major effort to reinforce this iconic structure. Base isolation, allowing approximately 30 inches of lateral movement (and the consequent stiffening of the building), in turn provided the excuse for a complete overhaul, which included adding energy-efficient systems, bringing the building into compliance with current life safety and accessibility codes, adding the latest in communications technology, and restoring the magnificent public spaces for which this landmark building is known.
Schooley Caldwel Associates
We have all heard that it is impossible to retrofit old buildings with modern systems, air conditioning in particular. The impulse, typically, is to design fan coil systems, as pipes are more easily routed through existing buildings than ducts. (This proved reasonably effective until ASHRAE increased its fresh-air requirements four-fold.) Nonetheless, the Capitol engineers have yet to encounter a historic building that defeated their ingenuity regarding energy-efficient mechanical systems, even if the solution involved vertical (as opposed to the traditional horizontal) distribution.
July 27th, 2007
Old Plans Come Back to Life in State Capitol Restoration
It's back to the future. Utah's state Capitol is undergoing a $250-million restoration, one of the most prominent projects of its kind ever in the U.S.
Once-forgotten plans for the building and its grounds are now coming back to life. Work on the Capitol is marching along toward a grand reopening in six months.
Terra cotta column capitals constructed with original terra cotta and placed on a trailer to be shipped to the jobsite for installation on the Utah State Capitol.
Photo courtesy of Kepco+
Tours have been stopped to save the "wow" moments until then, though you can see from digital photos that the interior already looks mighty impressive.
Behind the story of Utah's Capitol renovation is the tale of two architects -- Richard Kletting and John Olmsted.
architect Richard Kletting
Kletting was chosen over 40 other architects to design the massive structure, with its classic and renaissance influences, famous dome and columns.
John Olmsted originally mapped out the grounds surrounding the Capitol. He was the son of Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of U.S. landscape architecture, the planner of New York's Central Park and the U.S. Capitol grounds.
Spectacular Olmstead Gardens, which were originally planned to surround the State Capitol are resurrected and under implementation.
But some of the original plans for Utah's Capitol were never implemented. The project simply ran out of money. Then, 100 years later as architects began exploring restoring the Capitol, they discovered the old drawings.
Kletting's concept called for an unroofed, paved area around the exterior of the building.
David Hart, executive director of the Capitol Preservation Board, said, "That terrace was never built. So that gave us an opportunity to build that terrace to hide the seismic moat between the building and the new terrace."
There were two dilemmas for the restorers of the Capitol. First, what to do to accommodate, in the design, base isolators in the depths of the Capitol aimed at making it earthquake-ready. Also, how to implement post-9/11 security measures without compromising the Capitol's architecture.
The solution is going back to the original Kletting and Olmsted plans and merging them.
"It's interesting that when you look back in history and take those things that our forefathers developed, that they provided the answers for how to solve our problems almost 100 years later," Hart said.
The project has a notable feature that seems likely to make it a favorite Utah destination. It's an elliptical footpath, called the Memorial Walk, designed by Olmsted and flanked by 500 cherry trees. In springtime it will rival those of the nation's capital.
pics, Building Stone Magazine - In addition to the complete overhaul, restoration, and seismic upgrade of the Capitol building itself, an East and West wing were added to accomodate the areas growth. It was important to replicate in every detail the beauty of the original structure.