Alaska State Capitol Building

Juneau, Alaska
Client:  State of Alaska
Dates of Service: 2006, 2010, and on-going

Project Summary: Built during the Great Depression, this venerable structure had begun to show its age and the effects of Juneau’s persistently wet, cold climate. Its exterior masonry cladding, comprised primarily of brick, with elements of sandstone, pre-cast concrete, marble, and terra cotta, as well as its windows and roofs, displayed numerous symptoms of stress and infiltration.

PL: BECS Services: In reflection of the firm’s particular expertise in masonry construction, PL: BECS was asked by the state of Alaska to provide an initial examination of the building’s exterior masonry cladding and window elements in 2006.

PL: BECS services included a detailed visual examination, non-destructive evaluation of masonry anchor densities, masonry absorption testing, infiltration detection, and related services. PL: BECS prepared an abbreviated report which identified various symptoms, including seismic cracking, extensive localized efflorescence, exfoliation of outer sandstone strata, interior plaster damage, window deflection, and related manifestations.

Some of these symptoms reflected previously undetected seismic damage, while improper maintenance efforts in the past contributed to other problems. Various technical errors in the building’s original design were identified as significant contributors to some of the most pronounced problem manifestations.

PL: BECS was subsequently asked to provide a more detailed evaluation of the building’s primary entry portico, as the initial evaluation revealed that this element had suffered the greatest degree of degradation, and had begun to pose a possible seismic risk.

The second investigation, performed in 2010, confirmed severe degradation to this element resulting from inadequate initial design and 80 years of weather exposure. PL: BECS prepared a highly detailed report documenting extensive problems affecting the building’s entire exterior as well as its basic structure.
The report provided detailed guidance for corrective work to enhance the building’s structure and alleviate its many infiltration problems.

Significance of Alaska State Capitol Building

The Alaska State Capitol Building is incredibly important to the state and its people. It’s a great example of the democratic principles and practices that form the basis of Alaska’s government. The building is a tribute to Alaska’s long political history, significant political triumphs, and the leaders’ tireless efforts to reshape the state’s future.

The Alaska State Capitol Building is not just a historically and architecturally significant landmark, but also a vital administrative center for the state. It’s where laws that influence Alaskans’ daily lives are discussed, debated, and drafted, therefore it’s a hub for legislative procedures, committee hearings, and public engagement.

The building serves as a symbol of open government and encourages citizens to get involved by providing a place where they may voice their concerns.

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