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Title: Owner Participation in Innovative Engineering Solutions

Author(s): Avanti Shroff

Publication: Symposium Paper

Volume: 332


Appears on pages(s): 69-86

Keywords: Guastavino Dome, innovative solution, investigation, owner participation, crack, repair

DOI: 10.14359/51719126

Date: 7/1/2019

The increase in litigations in the design and construction industry over the years has restrained professionals in many fields from proposing or implementing innovative solutions. Since the major beneficiary of the innovative solution implementation is the OWNER, it is essential that the owner is intimately involved in the design process, and is not only aware of the risks and benefits associated with the proposed innovative solution, but is also willing to provide a written consent in sharing the risks associated with the proposed solution. This paper presents a case history where innovative engineering solutions were proposed and implemented, with full participation of the owner in recognizing and sharing the risk associated with the proposed solutions. The project involved the investigation of cracking and repair of the Guastavino Dome at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. The dome, designed and built in 1909 by Rafael Guastavino (Jr), has a 135ft (41M) span, is 155ft (47M) above the floor, and was constructed using his patented system of interlocking tiles and layers of mortar in 15 weeks. The dome was intended to be a temporary structure to last no more than ten (10) years when it was to be replaced by a high central tower. In the late 1960s, pieces of tile and mortar fell from the underside of the dome. As a result, the dome was rated to be unsafe and recommended for replacement. This paper briefly summarizes the original design, the structural evaluation, the recommended innovative solutions, and the owner’s participation in implementing these solutions, to ensure the safety and prolonged life of the dome. The dome is fully operational at present.