Photo Credit:
Krystal Layton

  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dome Restoration
Cambridge, MA

Walsh Brothers, Incorporated was selected to perform a complex and critical restoration of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) historic and iconic dome. The Dome, which serves as a landmark for this premiere institution of higher education was beginning to fail after years of environmental elements causing leaks in the roof. Due to Walsh Brothers’ extensive experience working on similar sensitive historic restorations, the firm was a clear choice to lead the Construction Management on this very sensitive project.

MIT’s Dome is home to the Barker Engineering Library which houses a historically significant engineering collection in addition to historical engineering journals. Both of these collections have specific humidification requirements. Problems arose when the waterproofing within the elliptical Dome Structure began to fail, allowing water penetration through the Dome’s structural concrete onto the library floor in various areas, which in turn was compromising the collections of books and valuable research. Walsh Brothers was responsible for determining both the source of the leaks and the most appropriate remedy. The final solution was to dismantle the current limestone, repair the concrete system below, and apply a Kemper waterproofing system, along with the careful re-use of non damaged original limestones. Walsh Brothers also worked one-on-one with MIT to ensure old stones that were unable to be reused were secured for MIT’s historic archives.

Discoloration of the limestone had occurred after more than 100 years of New England winters. The Walsh Brothers team traced the origin of the limestone to a particular quarry in Indiana. More than 300 new stones were carefully integrated and woven together with re-used stones after the waterproofing was completed. In the midst of a very active portion of the MIT campus with pedestrian routes surrounding the Dome as well as the sensitive library environment within, complex mitigation planning both within and outside of the Dome were required to ensure the safety of the MIT community.

Walsh Brothers is proud to have led the Construction Management on such a rich and iconic piece of Boston and Academia’s history.

"It is a testament to the professionalism of Walsh Brothers that despite the logistics and challenges of the project, the construction did not interfere with operations in the building or activity on the streets outside.....We are pleased with the outstanding job they performed on this visible icon of the Institute."
Richard L. Amster, Jr.
Director of Campus Planning, Engineering and Construction
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc.