St. Paul's Chapel Roof Replacement and Exterior Restoration

August 01, 2019

Construction Update for August 1, 2019

The main interior dome tile replacement and pointing is complete.  Stained glass windows and the apse copper roof were installed.  Small set-back roofs at the north and south elevations were replaced and masonry repairs have been made to the facade. Exterior scaffolding at the south and west elevations have been removed.

The alter interior dome tile replacement and pointing work is currently in progress.  The installation of the oculus glass platform and the restoration of the organ pipes is underway.  Stone dutchman repairs are being performed to the exterior steps.  In addition, interior scaffolding platform will be lowered to the bottom of the dome starting on August 2, and all exterior scaffolding will be removed starting on August 6.

About the Chapel Restoration

Facilities and Operations has embarked on a project to replace the roof and restore the exterior of St. Paul's Chapel, including façade cleaning and restoration of the upper stained-glass windows. This work is critical to preventing any future damage to the interior of the building.

The historic terra cotta roof tiles will be replaced consistent with the original architecture of this landmarked building, one of just three on Columbia’s campus (the other two are Low Library and Casa Italiana). The work is being performed in phases, and protective scaffolding will remain around the entire perimeter of the chapel for the duration of the project.

Phase I work has focused on the lower-level roofs around the perimeter of the dome. The tiles have been removed and the roof structures below are being repaired. During Phase II, which began in March 2018, the scaffolding has been extended to the dome and within the chapel interior, allowing tiles to be removed and replaced from the dome, and the stained-glass windows around the dome will be removed and restored. Once restored, the windows will be reinstalled with protective glazing, as the lower Chapel windows are today. The project also entails masonry repair and cleaning of the façade.

Work is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2019.

The stained glass windows in the dome of St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University are carefully removed and documented so they can be restored prior to reinstallation.

Construction Update for June 17, 2019

The flat roof above the entrance portico has been installed and the small set-back roofs at the north and south elevations will be installed in July.  Interior dome tiles have been cleaned, and tile replacement and pointing work is currently in progress.  The dome oculus rosette gilding is complete.  Stained glass windows and the apse copper roof are being installed.  Scaffolding at the west elevation has been removed, and interior and exterior scaffolding will be removed in August.

Construction Update for May 8, 2019

The flat roof and the copper roof at the apse is currently being replaced.  Stained glass restoration is complete and the windows will be installed following interior Guastavino tile repairs.  Masonry cleaning and repairs at the exterior walls is almost complete and a section of the pipe scaffolding has been removed.   The Guastavino tiles at the main and alter domes have been cleaned, and tile replacement and pointing work is currently in progress. 

Construction Update for March 18, 2019

The replacement of the terra cotta tile roof is complete.  Stained glass restoration is in progress and one fully restored window was installed.  Masonry cleaning and repairs continue at the exterior walls.  Inspection and repair of the Guastavino tiles at the interior dome ceiling is in progress.

Guastavino tiles in the interior dome ceiling of St. Paul's Chapel

Construction Update for January 29, 2019

The installation of the terra cotta tiles is complete at both the upper dome and lower pitched roofs.  Masonry cleaning and repairs continue at the lower roof areas.  Interior scaffolding around the altar dome is currently being installed.  The pipes from the organ have been removed for cleaning and protection.  Stained glass restoration is in progress and one fully restored window was installed.

Construction Update for October 12, 2018

Progress continues for the St. Paul's Chapel roof replacement and restoration.  In August and September, work was completed on the dome, eyebrow, and cupola roofs.  The stained glass restoration continued, and installation of the protective glazing was completed.  In addition, the dome scaffolding was removed.  Looking ahead, the main roof tile and gutter installation has started, and cleaning and facade repairs continue.

Construction Update for August 27, 2018

As we head into September, the installation of replacement roof tiles on the upper dome and the middle “eyebrow” roof is nearly complete. 

On the outside of the cupola, window and masonry restoration is also finished. Exterior restoration of the upper dome is complete as well.

In the windowed portion of the dome, the new protective thermal glazing is installed and ready for the restored stained glass windows when they arrive.

Starting in mid-September, the pipe scaffolding around the upper dome roof will begin to come down, and we will commence cleaning and restoration of the interior dome Guastavino ceiling tiles.  

Construction Update for July 24, 2018

The leaded-glass windows in the cupola have been restored and reinstalled, and installation of the terra cotta tiles (crafted from the original tile molds) has begun around the dome. 

In addition, façade cleaning has commenced.

The stained-glass windows are expected to begin reinstallation in the dome later this month.

Construction Update for June 15, 2018

Sixteen stained-glass windows from the dome have traveled to a conservation studio for cleaning and repairs. Once they are restored, they will be returned to the Chapel dome and reinstalled with protective archival glass to prevent future damage.

Inspection of the Guastavino tiles in the ceiling of the dome is complete, and the necessary repair work will start in July.

Replacement roof tiles, crafted using the original tile molds, are expected to begin installation in late June.

The stained glass windows in the dome are being removed and restored

Construction Update for May 15, 2018

Removal of the exterior tile on the dome is underway, and the interior ceiling tiles are being examined so needed repairs can be identified.

The stained-glass windows around the dome have been removed, with temporary boards in place to prevent weather damage. Architects and preservation experts have made meticulous records of each window, including rubbings to help document areas of special attention.

In summer 2018, the windows will travel to a stained-glass restoration studio for cleaning and repairs; once they are restored, they will be returned to the Chapel dome.

Construction Update for April 27, 2018

Removal of the stained-glass windows to allow for their restoration began earlier this week, after significant weather delays. Additionally, repairs to the sloped roof and the lower dome roof are well underway, with modern waterproofing materials being installed in alignment with the traditional construction methods used originally in the Chapel.

Construction Update for April 6, 2018

Interior scaffolding is now complete, to facilitate the removal and restoration of the stained-glass windows in the dome. Work is commencing the week of April 9 to begin removal of the windows prior to their restoration; this process is expected to take approximately two weeks.

Construction Update for March 9, 2018

Tile removal on the sloped roof below the dome is complete. Over the next few weeks, additional scaffolding is going up around the dome, and during the week of March 12, interior scaffolding installation will begin.

Some intermittent noise from construction-related activities is to be expected. In addition, as equipment for the interior scaffolding is transported from the street, Facilities and Operations may need to temporarily close either the north or south walkway around the Chapel at upper campus level.

A platform scaffold has been installed in the dome, to facilitate removal of the stained-glass windows and restoration of the dome ceiling tiles

Construction Update for January 16, 2018

As of January 16, the new scaffolding has been installed, extending over the sidewalk along Amsterdam Avenue.

Construction Update for Jan. 11, 2018

Weather permitting, on January 12 and 16, we are installing a scaffolding extension across the Chapel Gate and over the sidewalk, to permit safe debris removal.

Construction Update for Nov. 21, 2017

The Chapel Gate has reopened after a temporary closure for scaffold installation reaching the lower roofs to the left and right of the dome. Work will commence on replacing and repairing the roofing system.

Construction Update for Nov. 10, 2017

Beginning today, scaffolding around the Chapel is being changed in preparation for the restoration project. One of the perimeter walkways will be closed at various times while the scaffolding is installed. Please use caution when in the vicinity, as large equipment is being moved in and out.