Accessing History

Pizzi, Richard
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2011
Built in 1806, Boston's African Meeting House is the oldest surviving Black church building in the country. A $7 million dollar renovation was begun in 2006 to restore this historic building to its 1855 appearance and to modernize the building's accessibility, electrical and mechanical systems. As part of the restoration, an underground utility room and elevator tower, needed to provide handicap access to the Meeting House, were constructed. Extending up to 17 feet below the foundations of the abutting buildings, the utility room was constructed within one foot of some of Boston's oldest and most expensive residences. All equipment and materials had to enter the work area through a narrow alley rendering conventional methods of excavation and construction of earth support using heavy equipment unfeasible. A unique combination of micropiles, structural cap beam, internal struts and shotcrete facing was designed and constructed to provide the permanent and temporary support of the lateral loads from the earth pressures and adjacent building surcharges and the vertical loads from the elevator tower. The narrow and congested streets of the Beacon Hill neighborhood presented many day-to-day challenges for the contractor.
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