Traditional Building: Minnesota State Capitol Gets a Facelift

Completed in 1905, Cass Gilbert’s Renaissance-Revival Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, MN, had served the community in a grand fashion for many years. The 43,560-square-foot building is characterized by its prominent white marble dome. Inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the towering structure is one of the largest self-supporting domes in the world, rising 220 feet above the ground and measuring 70 feet wide at its base. Another highlight is the gleaming golden sculpture group at the base of the dome, “The Progress of the State,” known as the Quadriga, designed by Daniel Chester French with Edward Potter.

The years had taken a toll on the historic building. The roof was nearing the end of its serviceable life and water penetration was causing damage to historic interior finishes and valuable decorative art murals. Exterior sculptural features carved from Georgia White marble were sufficiently deteriorated to raise legitimate life safety concerns. Functionally, the demand for office and meeting space exceeded available square footage. Diminished building performance and archaic engineering systems fell short of meeting today’s standards for both sustainability and contemporary office space.

Now, more than 100 years after it opened, the building is once again ready to serve the community in a grand fashion, thanks to a five-year renovation and restoration completed in 2017.

Read about the Minnesota State Capitol restoration in Traditional Building.