Building History

The Washington State Capitol Building

It was the opportunity of a lifetime. Damaged by a 2001 earthquake, the state's most significant building - the historic Washington State Capitol Building - needed major repairs. A reputation for exceptional craftsmanship, not to mention previous experience on the 1971 renovation of the Capitol Complex, earned D.L. Henricksen the nationally sought-after project.

As the largest plaster restoration project in the United States, the Washington State Capitol Building project is the kind that makes history. It called not just for exceptional craftsmanship; it called for perfection.

Technically speaking, the project was a "rehabilitation." The building needed to be repaired and modernized. Repairs and upgrades had to be done in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's strict "Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties."

Plastering patches needed to blend seamlessly with original walls. A difficult task, considering they had to match the 100 different grains of sand featured in the original plasterwork. Moreover, the original plaster varied in thickness, depending on how straight the walls were originally constructed. Estimating the amount of material to be used was challenging because of the variation in thickness.

Detailed ornamental cornices had to be made the old-fashioned way and molded on site. Some areas even required that original materials, such as lime plaster with horse hair, be used as they were when the Capitol was built more than 80 years ago. And, the entire project needed to be completed in less than eight months.

With six plaster and five ornamental crews working almost around the clock, D.L. Henricksen applied more than 175,000 square feet of plaster and 10,000 lineal feet of decorative plaster ornamentation to mold, cast and run in place.

D.L. Henricksen worked with a number of partners to ensure the success of the project.

The Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau, the Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel Company, Gypsum Wallboard Supply, and USG's Technical Services Group all provided technical expertise.

Despite the long hours and tight deadline, the project was completed on time and on budget. And it was completed the only way true craftsmen would allow it to be done: Perfectly.