Old Courthouse, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

St. Louis, Missouri

My favorite projects are those that unfold over many years, when I am able to really delve into a project’s history, viscerally feel its importance, and make a contribution to its preservation for the long term. The Old Courthouse is one of those projects. Beginning in the 1990s, with investigations that included a comprehensive history of the building’s construction, a water intrusion study, seismic investigations at the dome, and historic painting of the exterior masonry, I was fortunate enough to lead several projects while at Quinn Evans Architects that corrected all of these things. Many dedicated professionals from the National Park Service, both in St. Louis and in the Denver Service Center, supported my work and design leadership.

The new copper standing seam roof includes an innovative secondary drainage system for any leaks that occur near drains, but are so difficult to detect; this proved helpful during the initial drying out stage of the newly installed roof, and has proven that no new leaks have occurred in subsequent years. Flashings and gutter liners were executed with exceptionally beautiful detailing in heavy-gauge copper that passed every possible scrutiny and inspection.

When a stone falls, people jump into action! When that happens above the public entrance to a very public, iconic tourist attraction, people jump faster and higher! The immediate response was to inspect all of the cornice stones from a movable lift, noting conditions and removing loose fragments. Once the scope of repairs was fully documented, work was bid and executed over a sixteen-month period that replaced damaged units and repaired those that could remain in place. Some of the replacement stones, such as at the southeast corner above the east entrance, weighed as much as a small car. With all of the team members on site together during site visits, key decisions were made quickly and efficiently.

Both of these projects were completed on-time and on-budget, very important to everyone involved. The roof project was recognized by the Copper Development Association for our innovative uses of copper and the excellent execution of our copper detailing.