How we designed the US Supreme Court Elevator Cab

How we designed the US Supreme Court Elevator Cab

This is the story of how Premier Elevators designed the US Supreme Court elevator cab as an exact replica of the original American quartered white oak that burned down in an electrical fire thirty years ago. After the fire incident, only a standard laminated panel had been installed but never replaced. Our challenge was to re-fabricate the classic ‘Egg-and-dart’ and ‘Gothic’ moldings, hand-carved rosette motifs, and the intricate wooden vents that had been carved as an integral part into the structure.

We had only one remaining unharmed elevator cab to copy the designs off. We knew the importance of the US Supreme Court building as a co-equal part of government in the free United States, the significance of the Corinthian architecture, and the majesty of what we were about to undertake. The weight of expectations and history was heavy upon us.

Nevertheless, we set about painstakingly taking measurements. We used scale drawings to ensure that nothing was going to go amiss. Every attention to detail was made. We weren’t going to miss the decorative bronze inside the elevator light fixture. So we used 3-D modeling to replicate its contours.

We had to create dies and casts to model the exact matrix that this historic venture demanded. There were many initial mistakes, retrials, and much wasted expensive white oak. Needless to say, it took us months to get the moldings right. All these moldings were hand-carved to match the original artist’s designs to scale.

When it came to the bronze structure, we finished what we’ve successfully done for several other high-prestige clients with sand casting. We designed and fabricated special custom made bronze handrails for accessibility. We also finished the recessed white oak panels after much fussing and labor. Finally, the replacement cab was complete.

Replicating historical architecture is a challenge that we’d undertaken before but not at such prestige to the project riding upon it. The current lacquer and finish will limit any new damage to the structure by fire. The construction of the panels, we are proud to say, will last for many decades before needing the next upgrade. The proud tradition of the US Supreme Court as a place of sanctuary for those met with injustice will continue.

Obtaining valid Certificates of Operation requires you to have a valid inspection report less than one year old which shows that no violations in the Annual Maintenance records have taken place from the appropriate regulating authority.

Elevators serve the vital function of vertical transport carrying people, cleaning dollies, ambulance stretchers, and several forms of heavy equipment. That they remain in top condition is crucial to attaining full functionality for hospitals, offices, factories, and commercial spaces.

Elevator design and service ensure that facility managers don’t take on the headache of constantly changing building and maintenance codes and fall foul of regulations. You too, can make your job a lot easier and stop critical service disruptions by hiring a competent elevator design and servicing company.

With elevator engineers primed and trained to prevent cost and time overruns, professional elevator load test services, such as Premier Elevators, can save you plenty of trouble. Call now for a free consultation.