Project File: Touching up an original

The four-month restoration project on the Dallas Hall Copper Dome at Southern Methodist University in Dallas required detailing of the dome's diamond-shaped copper tiles.

During an initial check of the roof, the architect found it to be in “extremely good condition.” However, it had little or no underlying felt below the tiles. Concrete was spalling on the dome's deck, and some embedded wooden nailers had begun to rot.

Flaws in the original design allowed water to infiltrate around the venting system and skylight. As a result, the skylight and ornamentation around it were in deplorable condition. It was little more than wire glass caulked into a frame, and most of the panes were broken.

Drawings of the original dome showed only minor details. The architect scanned the drawings and drew over it to build the electronic file needed to plan the restoration.

As the copper tiles were removed, workers replaced the rotted nailers, repaired the concrete deck and installed membrane waterproofing. The original skylight was replaced with a thermally efficient wire glass unit that retained the original look.

The copper tiles were re-installed in the same way they were applied originally in 1912. All of the diamond tiles were reused. A few copper panels at the stair step sections directly above the gutter were replaced with pre-patina copper.

The architect is PBK Architects (Dallas). PBK Roof Consulting, a division of PBK, oversaw the project.

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