Track 4: POLICY and PRACTICE / Volet 4: Politiques et pratique

Cincinnati Union Terminal, Its Restoration and Rebirthrenewal

Friday, October 13
10:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Cincinnati Union Terminal was designed by New York architects Fellheimer and Wagner, and constructed between 1931 and 1933. The terminal brought together passenger services for seven competing railroads that had previously operated out of five stations. The integration of art and architecture at Union Terminal was one of the preeminent Art Deco designs of the period. The terminal represented the culmination of railroad station design in the United States; and was one of the country’s largest. Abandoned as a railroad station in 1972, the terminal served first as a shopping center and later as a museum. Since 1990 the terminal has been the home of the Cincinnati Museum Center which includes the Cincinnati History Museum, the Cincinnati Historical Society Library,and the Museum of Natural History. Amtrak restored service in 1990, and in 1997 the Cincinnati Children’s Museum joined CMC. In 2014, voters passed a referendum to increase local sales tax to fund the restoration of the building.

Through the use of a single exemplary project, multiple conference themes will be addressed – including documentation and evaluation, design and planning, integration of old and new, delivery systems, and policy and practices.

An extremely large and complex project with a short design and construction schedule, the restoration and renewal of Union Terminal employed state-of-the-art techniques to record conditions and diagnose major conservation problems. The steel frame of the building was clad with limestone and brick; and the windows, doors, and fixtures were fabricated from steel, stainless steel, aluminum and glass. Interior finishes included metals, glass mosaic murals, linoleum wall panels, terra cotta, and decorative painting. A program for the treatment of the building was formulated, based on archival research and scientific investigations; all work was designed to meet the review standards of the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service.

Design and planning challenges included developing a program that allowed the major decorative spaces to be restored as public amenities while rehabilitating the former service and storage spaces as new museum exhibition galleries and work spaces – all while major portions of the building remained open to the public.

Delivery issues involved the development of technologies and workflows to ensure quality control, adherence to an accelerated schedule, and cost control within a construction management and phased construction delivery system. The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit program narrative (Part 2) was developed as an important design and construction tool to guide the process.

As a large-scale rehabilitation project, the restoration and renewal of Cincinnati Union Terminal meets the high standards of preservation and conservation that befit a National Historic Landmark. The restored terminal will sustain the Cincinnati Museum Center in its service to the community for years to come.

Learning Objectives:

Nancy Rankin, AIA/Leed AP

John G. Waite Associates, Architects

Nancy A. Rankin, AIA, is a principal with John G. Waite Associates, Architects and has been an integral part of the firm, managing some of their many prominent historic preservation projects including New York City's Tweed Courthouse; The Cincinnati Union Terminal in Cincinnati, OH; the Nassau County Government Operations Center in Mineola, NY; and Hamilton Grange, the home of Alexander Hamilton in Harlem, NY. Ms. Rankin currently oversees the firm’s New York City office and is managing the interior restoration of Cincinnati Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ms. Rankin is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


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Clay Palazzo


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John G. Waite, FAIA

John G. Waite Associates, Architects

John G. Waite, Senior Principal of JGWA has more than forty-five years' experience in supervising the restoration and adaptive use of historic buildings and is currently the architect for the restoration of the Rotunda. A fellow of the AIA and APT, Mr. Waite received APT's Harley J. McKee Award. In addition to work on Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda at the University of Virginia, JGWA's historic preservation projects, include Blair House, in Washington D.C.; New York City's Tweed Courthouse; five state capitol buildings; and the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, which received a National AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture.


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Cincinnati Union Terminal, Its Restoration and Rebirthrenewal

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