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Saint John Paul II Shrine, Renovation and Expansion, Washington, D.C.

The Knights of Columbus purchased the Blessed John Paul II National Shrine from the Catholic Church in August 2011 with a vision “to establish a permanent museum on the life and papacy of John Paul II, and to give lasting expression of his desire to foster unity and solidarity among all the people of our hemisphere."  The circa 2001 building features a limestone façade, three story aluminum curtain wall system, copper wall panels, granite feature wall, and extensive exterior terrace with granite paving.  Water penetration though the exterior façade components and terrace paving system has plagued the property since original occupancy.  With the function of the property shifting to display and repository of artifacts, the resolution of water penetration issues became paramount for the successful functioning of the building.

WDP was retained by HOP Properties to serve as an advisor to the Owner as they embarked on the renovation and expansion of the 130,000 square foot facility.  The first phase of renovation developed a 16,000 sf permanent exhibit dedicated to preserving and promoting the memory and legacy of St. John Paul II.  The phase was accelerated in order to coincide its opening with the Canonization announcement of St. John Paul II.  Subsequent renovation phases affected all aspects of public space in the building, including renovation of an existing chapel, a 3,600 sf rotating exhibit gallery, a new museum store, and updates to the facility’s mechanical and electrical systems.  Finally, the addition of a Winter Garden was developed to infill an existing interior open courtyard; this concept required the installation of a massive curtainwall and skylight system to provide ample natural light to the below-grade level.

WDP conducted a condition assessment of the building envelope and roof systems of the facility and assisted the renovation design architect in production of construction documents and construction quality assurance.  WDP’s services included field water penetration testing of masonry flashing systems, storefront, and curtainwall systems.  Nondestructive testing was conducted to locate limestone masonry anchors, and hygrothermal analyses were performed to assist in the design of wall systems for archival and display areas that require constant temperature and humidity levels.  WDP also performed field construction monitoring during building envelope repairs.