Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
Vermont State House
Location: Montpelier, Vermont
National Historic Landmark
The Vermont State House, dating from 1859, is the oldest, least altered state capitol building in the nation. Even the Senator’s and Representative’s chairs and desks are the originals! Starting in 1984, MCWB was involved in a phased restoration of the entire interior of the original structure over the course of sixteen years. This work also included careful integration of mechanical and electrical systems. The restoration work included repair of architectural surfaces, retrieval of historic decorative schemes, restoration and replication of original furniture, repair and reproduction of original gasoliers, and reproduction of original carpets, drapes, and upholstery. In executing the work, careful attention to archival research and surveying evidence within the building allowed spectacular re-creation of historic spaces.
Beginning with the Executive Chamber in 1984, the project was phased on an annual basis to facilitate continued use of the State House during legislative sessions. In subsequent years, restoration advanced to include the Cedar Creek Room (an 1886 art gallery/reception hall), the House and Senate Chambers, the House Vestibule, and all the first floor rooms including the offices of the Lieutenant Governor, President Pro-Tem, Sergeant-at-Arms, and Senate committees. To achieve the restoration of the first floor spaces it was necessary to remove suspended ceilings that concealed 1970’s HVAC ductwork and piping. The architects devised a series of utility trenches hewn out of the bedrock underlying the State House to accommodate the HVAC support systems; thereby allowing the retrieval of original spatial integrity in all historic spaces within the building. The work has also accommodated the needs of a modern legislature with provisions for electronic communications, security, and fire safety.