St. Paul's Chapel Receives Monumental Restoration

An aerial of St. Paul's Chapel with a new roof

In November 2017, Facilities and Operations began a historic renovation project of the 110-year-old St. Paul's Chapel, an iconic campus venue and landmarked building, to replace the roof and restore the exterior.  This work was critical to preventing any future damage to the interior of the building, and included façade cleaning and the restoration of the upper stained-glass windows.

Work on the building was completed in phases, with the first phase focusing on the removal of tiles on the lower-level roofs around the perimeter of the dome and the repair of the roof structures below.  The second phase began with the removal and replacement of tiles from the dome.

Contractors replacing tiles on the dome of St. Paul's Chapel.

As tiles were removed, modern waterproofing was installed using methods that enabled new tiles to be placed according to traditional construction methods.  The historic terra cotta roof tiles were replaced consistent with the original architecture, using replacement tiles crafted from the original molds.

  The Guastavino tiles in the interior dome ceiling were cleaned, repaired, and replaced.

The project included masonry repairs and exterior renovations, including the installation of an apse copper roof on the eastern portion of the building, and repairs to the exterior steps.  In addition, Guastavino tiles at the main and alter domes were cleaned, repaired, and replaced as needed, and the dome oculus rosette was gilded. 

During the renovation, the stained-glass windows in the dome were carefully removed for restoration.  Architects and preservation experts made meticulous records of each window, including rubbings to help document areas of special attention. The windows were sent to a stained-glass restoration studio for cleaning and repairs and were reinstalled after the restoration process with protective thermal glazing.

Two years after embarking on this monumental restoration, the project was completed in August 2019.  Afterwards, the Grounds team landscaped the adjacent walkways to further showcase the beauty of this campus gem.

Landscaping around the corner of St. Paul's Chapel.