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Construction details revealed of America's Statue of Liberty Museum

PICTURES: Phelps Construction explains how the new home of Statue of Liberty's original torch overcame engineering challenges

The newly opened Statue of Liberty Museum in America.
Phelps Construction Group
The newly opened Statue of Liberty Museum in America.

New Jersey, US-based construction management firm Phelps Construction Group has revealed details of the Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island in New York Harbour – located steps away from the American architectural landmark Statue of Liberty – for which operator Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation (Soleif) held a grand opening on 16 May, 2019.

The 2,415m2 museum will have the capacity for 4.3 million visitors each year, and has three gallery spaces that, according to the company, will provide people an opportunity to learn of the Statue of Liberty’s history, influence, and legacy.

The Statue of Liberty in New York, US [Pixabay].

The in-situ building sits above the 500-year flood level, and features the Statue of Liberty's original torch surrounded by frameless glass curtainwalls.

The multi-faceted three-dimensional structural steel roof system is clad with a green roof complete with native vegetation and panoramic views of New York City.

In a statement, Phelps Construction Group said the biggest challenge of constructing the museum on Liberty Island was that the island had no access for the materials needed for construction.

"Additionally, there was no reliable information on what lay below ground and some points of the building are located within 10 feet from the New York Harbour," its statement continues, adding that the project had to be implementing without interfering with visitor experience. 

Phelps moved the original torch from the statue's pedestal in November 2018 to the museum [supplied].

"These challenges were overcome by building a temporary dock on Liberty Island within the site which could be adjusted for the varying tides," the company's statement explains.

"Everything ranging from loads of lumber to concrete trucks were barged from a nearby facility in Jersey City. The firm spent months on the island prior to ground-breaking doing underground investigative work so that the project could move forward smoothly once construction began."

Commenting on the technical challenges of the project, president and chief executive officer of Soleif, Stephen Briganti, said: “Building a museum on an island presents a number of challenges that you don't necessarily have to consider when you're building on mainland, and that's why we were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with our trusted friends at Phelps Construction throughout this process.

“We know the millions of visitors who visit Liberty Island each year will be pleased too.”

Doug Phelps of Phelps Construction Group [supplied].

President of Phelps Construction Group, Douglas Phelps, added: “Building the Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island has been one of the most challenging and rewarding projects we’ve ever been involved in.

"Constructing a museum on a relatively small island in the middle of New York Harbour certainly had its difficulties, but they did not compare to honour of being chosen by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation to build this museum."

The group has previously worked with Soleif on the restoration and expansion of the Peopling of America Center on Ellis Island, which was completed in 2015. 

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Construction Week - Issue 747
Aug 03, 2019