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February 2011
National AIA Institute Honor Award Team Includes Keast & Hood Co.

Restoration of the National Historic Landmark Academy of Music Ballroom in Philadelphia earned a 2011 AIA Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture. Architect KlingStubbins led the design team including Keast & Hood Co. for structural engineering.

The 1857 Academy of Music is the nation’s oldest grand opera house still used for its original function. The cultural center is home to opera, music, ballet, and community events.

Guided by discovery of an 1860 photograph of the room, the project returned the ballroom to its original design, including window restoration, an historically-accurate decorative paint scheme, reintroduction of gas light fixtures and chandeliers, and remediation of years of water damage.

AIA Honor Awards jurors called the project “a thoughtful, meticulous restoration in which technical improvements are ingeniously concealed” and a “beautiful execution of historic preservation.”

The renovation involved extensive structural engineering, completed to seamlessly integrate with and support historic building fabric. As structural engineer of record, Keast & Hood Co. designed both repairs and supplemental framing. New steel beams were threaded through the roof to support original timber roof trusses above the ballroom. Additional steel framing was engineered to support new decorative chandeliers. The project is the latest in Keast & Hood Co.’s long history of work at the Academy of Music, including emergency structural stabilization in 1989 and major renovations associated with the Academy for the 21st Century capital program.

The project team included L.F. Driscoll Company (general contractor), PHY Engineers, Inc. (electrical/mechanical), Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design, John Canning Painting, Arnold Wood Conservation, and Tom Crane Photography.

Each year, the American Institute of Architects recognizes architecture, interior architecture, urban design, and professional achievement through its national awards programs. The Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture acknowledge outstanding building interiors created by architects licensed in the US. The awards draw attention to the broad diversity of interior architecture.

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