City of Winston-Salem, Union Station Restoration and Renovation
Owner: City of Winston-Salem
Contractor: New Atlantic Contracting Inc.
Lead Design Firm: Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce Architects PA
Structural Engineer: Engineered Concepts
MEP Engineer: Consultant Engineering Service Inc.
Built in the mid-1920s, this beaux arts train station was filled with high-end finishes and materials such as ornate cast-iron entrances, wood pivot doors, marble wainscot, quarry and porcelain tiles and many others. After being concealed and overlooked for three decades while the building was repurposed into a garage, the project team restored the building’s distinctive elements while also seamlessly integrating them with modern amenities through this comprehensive 24-month, $11.5-million renovation effort.
Crews retained and restored historic elements when possible, while research and expert craftsmanship combined to seamlessly replace damaged or missing components. Steel-framed clerestory windows, which had been installed simultaneously with the original building’s masonry, were repaired in place using matching materials salvaged from now demolished buildings located throughout the country. These frames were then coated with a three-part epoxy paint system.
Crews worked off site to restore window sashes, fitting them with innovative ¼-in.-thick insulated glazing that helps to improve the building’s thermal performance. Union Station is the second installation in the U.S. to use the glass, which required no modification to the sashes.
To integrate new building infrastructure systems, marble wainscot was removed and cataloged, then subsequently replaced and polished. Custom radiator covers conceal modern fan coil units, while specially colored sprinkler heads blend into the ceiling.
Despite the team’s research, the old station still provided surprises, such as when new passenger elevators were being added. The unexpected discovery that the original walls had not been constructed in line and plumb from floor to floor required a last-minute change in cab model in order to fit the available space.
While the station’s two upper levels are designed for commercial uses, the track level interior was totally revamped from its original freight-handling and storage uses into offices, conference rooms and high-tech spaces that house Winston-Salem’s transportation department. The aesthetics of this level’s construction are modern as well, featuring glass and metal with exposed overhead utility systems.