Restoring Lady Liberty
by Swanke Hayden Connell Architects
The Statue of Liberty, created by French sculptor August Bartholdi and architect/engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, was completed in 1886. While its restoration was monumental in terms of size, complexity, and visibility, the technical, design, access/egress, and deadline issues are similar—if on a larger scale—to those on many historic building projects.
These are some of the challenges faced by the restoration team:
• The project was supported by private funding, but was under the aegis of a government agency.
• It initially involved consultants from two countries and at least two approaches to the restoration/preservation debate.
• Extensive research was required, along with an army of technicians and experts.
• The project had a strict deadline—completion by July 4, 1986.
Other challenges included egress and access to a site on a small island in a busy harbor, and a sculpture that stood 305 feet high. The project was carried out entirely in the public eye, reviewed by a committee led by the Architect of the Capitol, and subject to public presentations at key milestones.
This article is excerpted from Historic Preservation: Project Planning & Estimating, with permission of the publisher, R.S. Means Company, Inc.