Cascade County Courthouse

Great Falls, MT

Renaissance was contracted in 2016 to restore the historic roof of the Cascade County Courthouse in Great Falls, Montana. Much of the project involved the remanufacture and installation of the ornate copper metalwork onthe 115-year -old, three-story English Renaissance Revival structure.

Work Included

  • Complete Restoration
  • roofing
  • carpentry
  • architectural sheet metal
  • gutters and downspouts
  • copper material

THE CHALLENGE

Built between 1901 and 1903, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, the Cascade County Courthouse’s copper roof and dome had reached it serviceable life and needed to be restored.

 
 

THE RENAISSANCE SOLUTION

The main body of the roof is 107 squares of a rare 20-ounce copper batten seam roofing system which required 1,800 panels to be custom fabricated by Renaissance in their Belvidere, Illinois location which were created and shipped to the jobsite, 1,300+ miles away. The copper batten seams system was installed utilizing traditional folding methods as adopted by the Copper Development Association and Revere Copper's "Copper and Commin Sense" guide.

The lower section of the main roof and pocket areas total approximately 2,500 square feet, and incorporate an innovative design utilizing both fully soldered flat seam 20-ounce copper roof panels and built-in copper water diverters to direct the water flow to the internal drain system. This is a unique system that was difficult to detail. The layout of the batten seam roof determined the high points of the diverters, so the exact locations of the battens had to be known prior to installing the flat seam areas and diverters below.

The entire main roof perimeter consists of an entablature that is detailed with a copper balustrade system in 12 separate rail sections which were redesigned to be self-supporting with a stainless-steel armature.

The sections were assembled in the Belvidere facility before being shipped to Great Falls for installation with the aid a 275-ton crane. The rail posts required complete rebuilding and wrapping with wood prior to receiving the underlayment, custom copper paneling, and capping to match the original appearance.

The tower dome roof has flat-locked 20-ounce copper roofing panels which were custom fabricated utilizing the original panels as templates. The drum beneath the dome was re-clad in 20-ounce copper that required extensive custom tooling to fabricate the intricate, curved ogee patterns within the wall and ceiling panel systems. The tower pedestal is wrapped in 20-ounce copper panels and the balcony roofs of the pedestal utilize fully soldered 20-ounce flat seam copper panels, which required flashings to be incorporated into the stone and cast-iron components that were also restored during the project.

Renaissance was awarded the 2020 North American Copper in Architecture Award for this restoration project.

THE RESULTS

The restoration will enable the citizens of Great Falls to enjoy this historic courthouse for years to come.