401 Chapel Drive — Duke Chapel

  • 401 Chapel Drive., Durham, NC
  • Churches
  • Built: 1935
  • Masonry Restoration, 2014-15
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

In 2014 and 2015, Central was engaged by Duke University to work on repairs to the vaulted ceiling of Duke’s iconic chapel: the preeminent structure on Duke’s Collegiate Gothic campus.

401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

Prior to the restoration of the vaulted ceiling, Central had to reinforce the limestone ribs from above in Phase One of the project. Here, a Central employee drills pilot holes into the top of the limestone rib as part of the concrete reinforcement.

401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

Custom wood forms, designed by Central to sit on a curved surface, were built so concrete could be poured. The first phase of work was extremely challenging due to the logistical difficulties of maneuvering throughout the attic space.

401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

Prior to commencement of Phase 2, a mock-up of the limestone rib ceiling was fabricated by Central staff. Key personnel were brought in to test the best methods for cutting out the full depth of the existing mortar joints and for tuckpointing the joints back in order to re-establish the integrity of the stone arches. This pre-planning proved invaluable and led to significant cost savings for the University.

401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

In 2015, Phase 2 work initially consisted of repairs to the under-side of the vaulted ceiling structure - beneath the reinforcement repairs that were performed from the attic space in 2014.

401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

Additional pipe scaffolding was erected for direct access of the limestone ribs.

401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

To avoid staining and damage to the decorative stones, joints were masked with tape.

401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

During the project, Cental's scope expanded to include masonry repairs to the elaborate Window Tracery detailing.

401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

Repairs were also completed to the exterior decorative finials.

401 Chapel Dr. construction photo
401 Chapel Dr. construction photo

Spalling concrete from the ceiling of the Bell Tower also needed to be addressed.