Endangered Union Terminal in Cincinnati Restored, Upgraded
Union Terminal Restoration
Award of Merit
Owner: Cincinnati Museum Center
Lead Design Firm: GBBN Architects
General Contractor: Turner Construction Co.
Named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the most endangered historic places in the U.S. due to deterioration, the $172.7-million Cincinnati Union Terminal renovation restored the integrity of the structure and provided new mechanical systems to extend the building’s life and preserve its history.
As part of the project scope, the concrete lid of the Cincinnati Children’s Museum, one of the building’s primary tenants, required a new waterproofing membrane to protect it from the 120,000-sq-ft fountain which is situated above. Crews carefully removed the limestone and granite from the fountain, cataloging the individual pieces and inspecting them for necessary repair.
When crews removed a section of the museum’s ceiling, they discovered structural steel beam members that had encountered decades of water damage from the fountain. The water had caused the bottom flanges of the steel members to corrode. Crews installed eight new structural steel beams that were 36 in. tall and 40 ft long, each weighing 8 tons. The beams had to be maneuvered two stories underground with no immediate access points.
The project also included a 500,000-sq-ft renovation of interior spaces. In order to understand the existing conditions of the structure, the project team performed a 3D point cloud scan that contained nearly 4.3 billion data points. The entire 2.5-year project was completed on time and on budget in November 2018.