Scaffolding Drexel University Main Building – The “Great Court”!
This building is a fantastic example of old world craftsmanship. Completed in 1891 it features some the coolest artwork on the 35 foot tall archway entrance to the main building on Chestnut Street – known as the “Great Portal”. Just look up and you’ll see 12 relief medallion portraits of leaders in their various fields, from Galileo to Newton, forever emblazoned on the building’s Italian Renaissance stucco representing the wide of array of disciplines taught at the university.
Now, with that said, we are doing work on the inside of the main Drexel University building on the Great Court that still functions as the University’s centerpiece even today (see history of the building below). They simply do NOT make buildings like this anymore.
As we enter, you can see the columned entrance with skylights, a large chandelier and even beautiful statues. Of course, our scaffolding is making that a bit difficult in these photos – but it’s there.
Superior Scaffold was brought in to get crews to the ceiling four stories up so the plaster could be repaired and then repainted (see the finished look below – amazing). Working delicately around the historic wood, marble, and antique accoutrement, our scaffold erectors used system scaffold to reach those great heights.
Four stories above the beautiful marble floors they constructed a safe and sturdy dance floor or work platform that allowed access to every inch of the atrium for repair and refinishing.
They employed a small hoist to get material up to the builders. They also used a ladder system from the third floor that gave the refinishing crews access to the work deck above.
The biggest challenges on this job involved designing the layout that would allow students and faculty continued access while the work went on overhead. Once that obstacle was handled, the scaffold crew used a lay down area outside and wheeled in all of the material through a side door and began erecting.
Because of the sheer size, they were also forced to work nights when there were no students or faculty around.
The final scaffold was roughly 60’ X 50’ X42’ high. It took only 18 days to erect – and the Superior crew did it with less man power than was scheduled. To put it mildly, our 3 man crew worked their butts off and erected a truly awesome piece of work.
The GC: Evergreen Architectural Arts and Drexel were both happy with the work. And we were pleased to be asked to be a part of this historic project.
A little history about this cool building. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel University is a world-class comprehensive R1 research institution and a global leader in experiential education. Legendary financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel answered the call for a new model of higher education and set a course that Drexel University still follows today.
He envisioned an institution of higher learning uniquely suited to the needs of a rapidly growing industrial society and of the young men and women seeking their place in it — core values that continue to guide the University in its modern era. His vision was officially realized in 1891 with the establishment of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry.
Drexel hired his friend and architect, Joseph M. Wilson, to design the building as well as the “Great Portal. He would become known for designing Reading Terminal and the Pennsylvania Railroad’s original Broad Street station.
So, as you walk past the exterior, look up at the “Great Portal” and the cast of characters adorning the Drexel Main building and be transported to another time.
And if you need access or scaffolding, call Tom at (215) 743-2200 today or visit www.superiorscaffold.com
Here are few photos of the finished work courtesy of Evergreen Architectural Arts. Click here to see their detail of the project.
And musically, I had to go with something from Bach, since he’s representing music. Enjoy.
A little more about the work on the Great Court ceiling.
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