WALTHAM, MASS. — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Building 10 Great Dome restoration project captured the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) Engineering Excellence Silver Award 2011.

The dome sits atop an eight-story library and academic building and is the center of MIT’s campus. Water leakage into the eighth-floor library space below the dome has been ongoing for many years. National engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. (SGH) investigated the source of the leakage and provided repair recommendations and design. The repair scope included installing continuous waterproofing over the existing concrete structure.

The dome construction consists of a concrete structure that is stepped at the base and sloped at the upper section. The stepped portion of the dome originally was clad with red copper on the horizontals and limestone on the verticals. The sloped portion of the dome also is clad with limestone. A built-in copper-lined gutter extends around the perimeter of the dome at the base of the steps. Installation of the new waterproofing required removal and replacement of the copper and limestone cladding.

MIT required the restoration be completed within a six-month window. In addition to the aggressive project schedule, access was limited because the building remained occupied for the duration of the construction work. Before demolition, the contractor staged the entire dome to improve access and erected a temporary enclosure to protect all work, minimize weather-related downtime, and reduce disruption to the surrounding campus. A complex logistics plan and pulley system also helped deliver and accurately place limestone on the dome, maintaining the aggressive schedule.

The SGH-led team completed the restoration work within the allotted schedule and budget and with minimal disruption to the adjacent community. As a result of the repair work, leakage below the dome has stopped.

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