Preserving our nation’s heritage at the Menokin Glass House project

At the Menokin Glass House project, our team is taking a unique approach to preserving the ruins of the house of Francis Lightfoot Lee, one of the seven signers of the Declaration of Independence from Virginia.

As the owner’s project manager on the project, our team is overseeing the conservation and repair of the historic manor house in Warsaw, Virginia. Rather than a traditional rebuild, however, the project includes preserving and stabilizing the existing ruins, and building an enclosure of structural glass which will protect the remains and allow visitors to enter and explore the site.

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The Menokin Foundation is embarking on a revolutionary re-imagining of this historic structure. Led by the architecture firm of Machado Silvetti, the Menokin Foundation hopes to transform this house and 500-acre classroom into an educational and environmental experience like no other. Photo credit: Menokin Foundation.

“Through the project’s innovative glass enclosure, the Menokin manor house ruins will in effect be a full size artifact that invites everyone to inspect, touch and experience eighteenth century construction techniques and methods,” said Senior Project Manager James Ingle. “It will merge art and architecture.”

The house’s historical significance presents the project’s most difficult challenge, but also makes the project incredibly rewarding. The team is working closely alongside archaeologists, a structural engineering firm and architect Machado Silvetti to ensure that the delicate ruins are preserved. In order to work safely, they have installed mesh netting overhead to make sure any pieces that could potentially come lose are caught. They have also mocked up a corner of the house to test building stabilizing techniques prior to beginning work.

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Menokin was the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife, Rebecca Tayloe Lee of Mount Airy Plantation. Photo Credit: Historic American Buildings Survey

The Menokin house was built in 1769 and was designated as a historical landmark in 1971 for its significance as the home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It sits on a 500-acre property along the shoreline of the Chesapeake Gateway.

“This is one of the first times this method of preservation is being used, and I believe it will be replicated in the future because it is an incredibly sustainable solution,” James explained. Only 20 percent of the home remains standing, and this project will mimic the missing volume and manor house profile.

Discover more about the Menonkin Glass House Project here.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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