Completed in 1911, St. Francis de Sales Church was designed in a Byzantine Revival style by Henry D. Dagit with a massive structural tile dome and roof vaults designed and built by the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company. The cross-shaped plan consists of a large, domes central space with shallow transepts to the east and west of the crossing. The exterior walls are clad in rock-faced white marble with decorative elements executed in Indiana limestone. At the crossing, brick walls form an octagonal base for the terra cotta and brick drum and polychrome glazed-tile dome. The interior is richly decorated with marble, granite, limestone, patterned brick, and polychrome terra cotta. The central dome, with a glazed oculus, is of Guastavino tile with a diameter of approximately 60 feet.
- Document existing conditions at the interior and exterior, including the Guastavino tile dome and vaults, in order to assist the project team with the development of a renovation plan.
- Investigate subsurface drains and pipes.
- Assist Historic Building Architects with a feasibility study and design of a future access system.
- Used a combination of industrial rope access on the exterior and an aerial lift at the interior to gain hands-on access to the structure.
- Provided live-feed video to the project team during inspection of representative exterior areas.
- Sounded Guastavino tile and masonry materials at the interior to identify subsurface conditions.
- Used a See Snake fiber optic diagnostic tool to investigate roof drains and leaders.
- Opened probes in exterior masonry to characterize subsurface conditions.
- Documented and measured existing conditions at interior drum to assist with planning for a future access system.
- Performed anchor pull tests as part of fall protection system design.
- Archdiocese of Philadelphia
In collaboration with
- Parish of St. Francis de Sales
- Historic Building Architects, LLC
- Jablonski Berkowitz Conservation, Inc.
- Femenella & Associates, Inc.
stained glass conservator
- Princeton Engineering Group
- Daedalus Projects, Inc.
- Masonry Preservation Group