In Celebration of the U.S. Capitol Dome



that one thought this little experiment would endure and now we've been the greatest nation in the world for so many years and the symbol of that is the capital it's timeless every morning I go to the office my office is just off the side of the Rotunda I always look up it's an amazing thing to see I'm just always in awe and I just kind of pinch myself but this is a place I get to come to and work every day when you see that Dome of the Capitol it evokes a patriotic and emotional response it's America and it's strong it's alive when I walk in the heartbeat goes up it's something that every American citizen can benefit from the Dome of the Capitol is a symbol of freedom like no other in the world what it represents the people's dreams of this country and everything that everybody has ever fought for it represents who we are as American people represents our oneness and our unity as a nation you want to see a picture of the American democracy take a look at the cowboy pearls Bulfinch built the first Capitol dome Thomas you Walter was the architect of the Capitol in 1850 he tripled the size of the building and suddenly the dome wasn't nearly big enough so altered get a drawing of this incredible new dome sitting on top of the old bill he actually hung up that drawing in his office and congressmen and Senators would look at this magnificent drawing they quickly said we've got to do that and lo and behold they did they did look at the weight of the dome on the existing stone foundation they also wanted some fire resistance and they wanted to last a long time it was pretty obvious that that meant cast-iron civil-war breaks out in 1861 the contractor Jayne Skylark Kirkland and come in ten years building the dome they only had about 10 people working I couldn't do much every day but they worked every single day you just have such an appreciation for the people who actually built it to begin with the craftsmanship that goes into these ornaments that are made by hand for example one column Papo can comprise over 200 pieces they're put together like a little puzzle where you put each piece together and then you put one final pin and that held it all together they're all very well detailed you know they have the veins and the leaves showing they didn't have the same modern tools that we have they certainly didn't have the conditions that we have they were in the middle of a war but they managed to do this and it's absolutely amazing the dome is over 150 years old it's cast-iron it's it's a it's going to deteriorate over time as with any building material over the years rain snow eyes took its toll there were several studies done assessing the dome documenting the cracks over 1,300 cracks cracks that were several feet long and cast iron plates about 3/8 of an inch thick we had a serious problem not only of the face of the dome but also the components that keep the dome together the entire structure was really threatened it represented a safety concern literally hundreds of pieces that have broken off and fallen to the roof of the Capitol building the last major restoration was back in 1959 1960 they didn't go into as much detail as what we did the repairs that were done were virtually all welded and many of those welds have retracted he learned that the rain gutters were completely clogged with rust that was pouring off the dome from all of the pieces that have been rusting ultimately the water got inside the dome I mean look at what we could lose here you know a lot a lot for a lot of people it's an enormous task it is going to be a long time before we're able to do this again so it's very very important that when we do it we do it right before you even start on the job there's a significant amount of planning first documenting the condition estimates schedules lands we have this very fragile artwork and sensitive artwork sitting in the middle of our projects pictures paintings you got everything in here is priceless so the first thing we did was install the safety netting in the rotunda of the dome the netting is what separates allows us to work on this side safely have the pub so that piece of cast-iron were dropped a tool dust any of that can't make it its way through a huge part of this job was the scaffold and if you look at the unique way the scaffold was put together both on the interior of the Rotonda as well as the exterior and that makes or breaks you for the entire project so you ended up with 25 levels of scaffolding we plate them end to end about 55 miles of scaffolding the locking stitch saved this building and it's stronger than the cast iron the lock and stitch method is a mechanical fastening of two pieces of cast iron use a locking stitch to seal a crack so you fill it in with the steel instead of cast iron a series of pins are installed and the stitches are installed perpendicular and the head of the pin shears off at the right torque and grind it down lock it and it's done the balustrade around the fullest level of the dome since a poor condition entire thing had to be shipped to the foundry they were actually able to recycle and salvage a lot of the historical parts that were beyond repair they melted the original parts down and reintroduced it into the ballast tray that came back from the foundry the cupola windows the majority can go back to the original construction of 1855 so we replace five that were damaged beyond repair so we replicated the same means and methods that they use to windows it's called slump or glass so they basically take a giant colander of the 2000 degree molten glass the cork between two rollers and it rolls the entire window out I think it's that wavy shower glass look patterning doing some of the worst damage of the dome is this internal gutter system that has failed hearts were made in the foundry that was reassembled in their warehouse to make sure it then completely fit perfect and shipped back to the Capitol dome boys all the way up through 21 levels of scaffolding and reassemble the tops of it in all of the dome you have ornaments that we had to take out the way up to 600 some of our pounds thirty-six giant acorn finials I said about the windows 36 giant acorn pendants the hanging below the windows 36 giant ante fixes are sitting on the rib lines there's 72 Scrolls that go between them so all of that has to be disassembled blasted repaired repainted reassembled and reattached there were certainly some that were damaged and rusted beyond repair and we would have to recreate those pieces we take one off that's in good shape ship it off to the foundry and they will 3d scan every single one of these parts in impress it in a sand mold and then for molten cast iron in it to create the new part some of the larger items like the gutters those are up to 15 feet long they can weigh up to 3 400 pounds so those will make out of wood plywood they'll make a handmade so the color on the exterior of the dome is a dome white color paint specially made for the Capitol dome meant to replicate the sandstone painting of the west front of the Capitol from the original construction from what we discovered the Rotunda has always suffered from leaks from the roof we have places where water had come through and rusted damaged plaster below damaged cast iron here rusted things damaged coatings the paint bubbles it pops away from the underlying layers this is disaster basically the amount of deterioration on the exterior had it been mirrored on the interior and so this was the moment to fix the interior as well starting from the top we're doing a lot of cast-iron repairs and painting we worked our way down to the freeze repairing areas that have been damaged as part of this work all of the lead paint is being removed down to the bare cast-iron the interior had never been stripped down before so all the original coats of paint were on there that in and of itself was a treasure being able to go back and look at the many layers of history hundreds and hundreds of samples were removed from the cast-iron we were able to develop timelines what the different color schemes were what we found was the interior rotunda has been painted for time what we're doing now is v when we were talking about how do we paint the interior of the Rotunda you know the first thought was well let's look at the historic color schemes and choose one of those and we painted two coffers about from 1906 and a palette from 1866 the 1906 palette was much more pleasing so we started with that and then we revised value to give it more contrast pierre l'enfant said to George Washington placed this Capitol building upon a pedestal awaiting a monument and it's still a monument today this restoration will be part of the history of this magnificent building this goes so far beyond craftsmanship this is symbolic it is truly a symbol of what it's taken to get to the point that we are at today you know the statue of freedom isn't just icing on the cake it means something what we're trying to preserve here is the solidness of our country it's just an amazing responsibility that we have on on our shoulders to preserve the principles of our founding to preserve the American idea and therefore preserve the building in the Rotunda hand them down to the next generation and as our responsibility we're just stewards of these irreplaceable treasures the Gothic take care of this represents the United States everybody entire world is looking at this building brings about a sense of patriotism a sense of strength a sense of unity what other symbol can you think of that stands more for freedom this stands for freedom you

20 Comments

  • Gaia N

    April 15, 2019

    when I wanna look at American democracy I sure as hell wouldn't wanna see that turtle head Mitch McConnell.

    Reply
  • Texas guy

    April 15, 2019

    America is the greatest country in the world. Wish the left would just stop being so hateful.

    Reply
  • Bradley Oehrlein

    April 15, 2019

    who else is watching this for school like if you are

    Reply
  • dsdw30

    April 15, 2019

    This is a representation of the DOME FIRMAMENT. America has been fueling the space hoax. Greatest lie ever told. There is no outer space. We never left earth. It’s covered by a solid dome firmament. Just like Gods word says. Earth is still and at rest that it can not be moved forever. Gods word is true. Man is lying

    Reply
  • clarence spencer

    April 15, 2019

    wow. i really had no idea the dome was actually a cast iron–like an old kitchen stove, painted white, and not made of marble stone!!!! i was so proud of its architecture and admired it. phew. so much for that!! another fake like all others in vegas!!!! is there anything real anymore? even the White House building. just the outside walls are the old building. The rest–the entire interior, was torn out in 1950 and a new concrete building was built inside (looking like the old), but about 5 inches away from the outer walls. there is one modern building inside the old walls–painted white!!!

    Reply
  • polifatts

    April 15, 2019

    Fuck Chuck Schumer!

    Reply
  • Damar Skill

    April 15, 2019

    الي جاي من كتاب انتخريستوس . لايك ?

    Reply
  • professor Bruno Souza

    April 15, 2019
    Reply
  • SRV. 123

    April 15, 2019

    Sure as hell didn't stand for freedom during the Obama era. Now, It's back. No longer the toilet of the world.

    Reply
  • Wayne Lee

    April 15, 2019

    My DC never stop being built-in george washington

    Reply
  • Wayne Lee

    April 15, 2019

    Bulford beloved capital

    Reply
  • Yaw Gee

    April 15, 2019

    America is oneness? AMERICA IS DEMOCRATIC? YET MINORITIES DON'T GET EQUAL JUSTICE N LIBERTY. SHOULD GOD BLESS AMERICA? GOD LL ONLY BLESS AMERICA IF BLACKS,INDIANS ,HISPANICS AND OTHER MINORITIES ARE GIVEN FREEDOM,JUSTICE AND EQUITY.

    Reply
  • Jackson Williams

    April 15, 2019

    Well, I agree with Paul Ryan on one thing… The Capitol is truly awe-inspiring

    Reply
  • OSTARAEB4

    April 15, 2019

    This is our country. This is who we are!

    Reply
  • OSTARAEB4

    April 15, 2019

    Wow! What an excellent job and congratulations to all the craftsmen and the logistics of this amazing project by the AOC! And yes, it IS the most beautiful building in our country!

    Reply
  • imaspacewoman

    April 15, 2019

    Absolutely amazed there are people, companies that can do such a huge task of restoration!

    Reply
  • K California

    April 15, 2019

    There are not that many national buildings that as eloquent as that.

    Humanly flawless.

    Reply
  • Brayden Stalcup

    April 15, 2019

    When they asked "What other thing stands more for freedom than than the capital" , I thought uhhhh… Statue of Liberty.

    Reply
  • Nathan M

    April 15, 2019

    It's a beaut

    Reply
  • Christian Baumeier

    April 15, 2019

    Just Perfect! <3

    Reply

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