Rendering by Peter Ferber
New York State Capitol
The New York State Assembly Chamber, dedicated in 1879, was a magnificent architectural and decorative ensemble. The architect, Leopold Eidlitz, designed not only the space with its massive ribbed sandstone groin vaults, but also the draperies, carpet, upholstery, painted decoration, lighting, and furniture. A few years after the Chamber was opened, the stone vaults began to fail. The central vaults were removed and a lowered coffered ceiling was installed completely changing the character of the space and obscuring the murals. A feasibility report was completed on restoring the Assembly Chamber to its original configuration and decorative scheme while incorporating the latest climate control, computer, communications, and electronic voting systems. Because new stone vaulting could not be self-supporting, a steel structure was designed to support porous, sound-absorbing cast stone blocks replicating the original stones. These blocks would also alleviate the severe acoustical problems of the original space.