Post Square 12.20.13 ~ Repairing a Symbol
Nine million tons of cast iron make up the dome atop the U.S. Capital building in Washington, D.C. The construction took place 150 years ago, during our civil war.
In the 1860s cast iron was the state-of-the-art building material. It was lighter and easier to build with than stone and it didn’t carry the fire hazards of wood.
The elements have taken their toll over the years and now over a thousand cracks in the structure are letting in moisture which is threatening the interior of the building.
In the spring, the $60 million repair job will begin, encasing the dome in scaffolding for at least two years. The tourists who visit D.C. are expected to take this in stride. The people most inconvenienced may be the makers of movies and television shows who rely on a shot of the Capital to fix the locale of their productions.
The old iron is too soft for welding, so technicians will be “stitching” the cracks back together with pins. The huge curved exterior sheets will have to be sandblasted to bare metal, the tons of lead-based paint carefully collected and safely disposed of. The painters will then have eight hours, max, to beat the rust.
A tourist from Pennsylvania told the journalist who wrote this story she was glad they were taking care of the beautiful dome, but she wished “they would fix our roads”.
The piece of the cover photo I chose to draw from is a square inch at the very bottom right corner. It is a detail of the interior of the dome. I used my random selection method to pick the colored pencils, but I decided what I wanted dark and light to retain the contrasts that create the wonderful, sharp architectural lines and shapes. I rotated the drawing after it was finished because I thought it read better.