Architectural projects can have daunting logistical issues, but often include the same levels of care and detail as treating a piece of furniture.
During the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, a monumental new capitol building was erected in Lincoln, Nebraska. The west legislative chamber of the building was completed in 1931 and the art deco inspired interior decorations showing westward expansion were executed on the wooden box beams and on a pierced metal acoustic paneling that had been grain-painted to match. Being 50 feet off the floor, the surfaces had only been locally repaired as needed over the next 80 years.
They had suffered extensive water damage from the roof above, as well as sun fading and dirt accumulation; the heat from new TV lighting only had exacerbated the deterioration. The ceilings were accessible by scaffolding that was installed to treat both the ceilings and the acoustic wall tiles. The treatment of over 10,000 square feet of finished surfaces included vacuuming, surface cleaning, reversing old varnish repairs, and locally repairing the gilding. The project was coordinated with the Office of the Capitol Commission and was partially staffed by students from the University of Nebraska.