Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Renovation Architect: Vitetta

O'Donnell & Naccarato provided structural engineering services for the restoration of the iconic 2,000-seat cathedral, which lists on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and ranks as the largest Catholic church in Pennsylvania. Erected in 1864, the structure was designed in the Roman-Corinthian style of architecture modeled after the Lombard Church of St. Charles (San Carlo al Corso) in Rome.

The project encompassed many detailed procedures unique to the restoration needs of the Cathedral. On the exterior, each individual stone of the weather-worn brownstone facade was resurfaced, repointed and repaired where necessary. In order to be cleaned and restored, the four prominent, and beautifully crafted bronze statues were removed from their respective niches in the facade and lowered by a crane onto pallets for safe transport. This delicate process was later reversed to reinstall the statues.

The Cathedral itself is 250 feet in length, 136-feet wide, and 101-feet tall. Among its many beloved architectural features, the newly restored vaulted copper dome and 11-foot, 24KT gold cross may be most recognizable. The dome rises for a total height of 210 ft, and is 71 ft at its greatest diameter. To re-gild the cross, a special crew assembled a ladder system atop the dome.