Mills + Schnoering Architects (M+Sa) upgraded the visitor experience at the Statue of Liberty National Monument with newly designed staircases and additional elevators for access to the observation deck and crown. M+Sa designed the new features using Revit, a three-dimensional modeling software tool, to create a virtual model of the entire monument from laser scans. The new features make it easier for visitors to ascend to the observation level, and improve visitor safety, fire protection, and comfort.
“Based on our work restoring numerous historic monuments throughout the country, we knew that traditional methods would be challenging for a project of this complexity and pace,” says Michael Mills, FAIA, partner at M+Sa. “The space is so tight that even small discrepancies in the design would have made the upgrades difficult to build. User laser scanning and three-dimensional modeling, we were able to visualize the design that would improve fire safety and egress while preserving the Monument’s original features.”
The constricted interior of the pedestal—17 square feet at its most narrow and 27 square feet at its widest—presented a unique challenge, compounded by the massive original support beams beneath the statue that are part of engineer Gustave Eiffel’s original design. However, Revit software enabled M+Sa to configure two new staircases and elevators without touching the steel support beams or iron tie-down straps that hold the statue in place. From the top level of the pedestal, visitors can view the double helix staircase above that leads to the crown of the statue. The monument is also now wheelchair accessible, for the first time in its history.
“By preserving the Statue of Liberty National Monument’s historic features, we continue to celebrate her origins as well as her enduring presence into the 21st century,” says Hugh Duffy, project manager at the National Park Service.
To learn more visit nps.gov.