NYS Capitol Assembly Chamber

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Albany, NY

Client: New York State Assembly

Project Type: Restoration; Feasibility Study

The Assembly Chamber, dedicated in 1879, was widely recognized as one of the most magnificent public spaces in the United States. The architect Leopold Eidlitz designed not only the space with its massive ribbed sandstone groin vaults but also the furnishings and decorative finishes. A few years after the Chamber was opened, the stone vaults began to fail. The central vaults were removed and a lowered coffered ceiling constructed of wood and papier-mâché carried by steel trusses was installed, completely changing the character of the space and obscuring the Chamber’s William Morris Hunt murals.

In 1989, the predecessor firm to John G. Waite Associates, Architects prepared a report on the feasibility of restoring the Assembly Chamber to its original configuration and decorative scheme while incorporating the latest climate control, computer, communications and electronic voting systems.  Working from this feasibility study, the firm is currently overseeing a multi-year project that will restore the Assembly Chamber’s ceiling, replace the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment to serve the Assembly Chamber, and remove and replace the existing coffered wood ceiling with an innovative ceiling system that will recreate the appearance of the original stone vaulting.