Track 1: DOCUMENTATION AND DIAGNOSTICS – UNDERSTANDING HISTORIC PLACES / Volet 1 : Documentation et diagnostic – Comprendre les lieux historiques

The Nebraska State Capitol: A Case Study on the Continued Use of Digital Technology for Information Management and Analysis of an Iconic Historic Structure (Part 1 of 2)

Saturday, October 14
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

The Nebraska State Capitol is the result of a nationwide design competition won by New York Architect Bertram Goodhue in 1920. The building was the nation’s first statehouse design to radically depart from the prototypical classical form of the nation’s Capitol. Constructed in four phases from 1922-1932, the building was completed just under the $10 million budget. As many as 100,000 visitors a year climb the monumental north staircase, some drawn there because it is internationally significant as an example of the harmony of art, landscape design and civic architecture.

The building has been carefully preserved and rehabilitated during numerous campaigns. One of the first major projects was the integration of a new HVAC system, modern for its time, during the mid-1960’s. This project removed a significant amount of the original building systems and visually impacted many historic spaces.

A second significant project occurred from 1995 through 2012, which focused on the preservation of the exterior masonry and the copper roof replacement. During the investigation and design phases, the team utilized state-of-the-art computer programs that integrated a relational database of the existing masonry components and their conditions with CAD programs. This innovative process and digital technology was the subject of a paper presented at the APT 1996 Winnipeg Conference.

A third major project, currently in the design phase, will preserve the steel windows and rehabilitate the Capitol’s interior while integrating new MEP systems. This project will entail removing all of the previous 1960’s HVAC systems and replacing them with new systems, that are relevant and energy efficient.

The project is large and complex, covering approximately 600,000 sf of conditioned space. One of the first tasks of the design phase includes field work, investigation and survey of each of the 1,365 rooms and 1,191 windows. The numerous spaces, features and conditions had to be assessed within a limited time, which directed the project team toward innovating another means to complete the survey as efficiently as possible.

A custom designed digital “app” was created to contain the information gathered during the assessment and documentation process of all of the rooms and steel window components and conditions. The app was designed to be adaptable in the field, allowing for parameter additions and revisions in real time. The app links to the BIM model and allows for the parameters housed within each digital tool to be readily accessed.

This presentation will show how the project design team has continued the use of digital technology at an historic iconic building during complex, major rehabilitation and preservation campaigns. The presentation will demonstrate this new type of digital information management system currently being utilized during the assessment of the building’s existing and historic fabric.

Learning Objectives:

Julie Cawby, RA, NCARB

Historical Architect
BVH Architecture

Julie’s expertise in preservation, rehabilitation, restoration and adaptive reuse is made evident by her exceptional work. Her portfolio includes such high-profile projects as the preservation and rehabilitation of the Women’s Leadership Fountain, the first fountain in Kansas City, MO built in 1898; and Building 19 of the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center campus in Leavenworth, KS. Building 19, a Romanesque Revival structure built in 1886 to serve Civil War veterans, won five industry awards for its adaptive reuse including the National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a Palladio Award from Traditional Building.

Her current work focuses on rehabilitation of the Nebraska State Capitol, a 15 story National Historic Landmark. Julie is the Project Manager and Historical Architect for the removal and replacement of the buildings HVAC system which covers 600,000 sf of conditioned space within 1,365 rooms, while restoring the historic character defining features. The project also includes preservation and rehabilitation of 1,191 Steel and Bronze windows, integration of new fire alarm systems, sprinklers, enhanced smoke protection, and an off-site geothermal well field. The project is a multiple year design which will be constructed in phases over an 8 year period.

Julie is also an APTI member and has served on the APT-Central Plains Board of Directors since the Chapter's’ inception in 2009. She has been the Treasurer and head of the Finance Committee since 2010. She was also on the APT 2015 Kansas City Local Conference Committee and also served as the Field Session Chair.


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Mario Santana

Mario Santana-Quintero, is an associate professor on Architectural Conservation and Sustainability at department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Carleton University. He is also the Director of the NSERC Create program “Engineering Students Supporting Heritage and Sustainability (HERITAGEENGINEERING)” based at the Carleton immersive Media Studio Lab (CIMS). He has an architectural degree, holding a master in conservation of historic buildings and towns and a PhD in Engineering from the R. Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (University of Leuven). He is also a guest professor at the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (University of Leuven). These past years he has been teaching also at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico) and Universidad de Cuenca (Ecuador). In the past, he was a Professor at the University College St Lieven and lecturer at the University of Aachen RWTH and the Historic Preservation Programme at the University of Pennsylvania between 2006 and 2011. Along with his academic activities, he serves as ICOMOS Board member and he is the past president of the ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Heritage Documentation (CIPA). Furthermore, he has collaborated in several international projects in the field of heritage documentation for UNESCO, The Getty Conservation Institute, ICCROM, World Monuments Fund, UNDP, Welfare Association, and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.


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The Nebraska State Capitol: A Case Study on the Continued Use of Digital Technology for Information Management and Analysis of an Iconic Historic Structure (Part 1 of 2)

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