Lee Lawrie Forum Doors

The Capitol Preservation Committee completed the restoration of the Lee Lawrie-designed Forum doors in 2015. Each door set was covered in a thick layer of dust, and several had a type of cementitious dirt which had been splashed on them. The bronze had corroded, and a calcium-sulfur crust had accumulated from the mortar joints in the limestone of the building. Sulfur dioxide from exhaust fumes had also stained the doors over time. Each series of doors was photographed before work commenced. As each set of doors was removed, a temporary replacement door was installed in its place. The existing hardware system at the bottom of each door was removed and replaced, and new hardware pivot blocks installed at the entryways. The opening/locking mechanisms were cleaned and painted with dry lubricating paint, which will provide years of smooth, maintenance-free operation. Each leaf of the door sets was cleaned individually, and repairs made to them, including repairs of the brass heel, doors and transoms, as well as modifications to hide activators for the automatic door bottoms. Cracks in the bronze areas holding the figures on the doors were discovered and these were welded back into place to secure them. Once the cleaning and modifications were complete, a patina was reapplied to each door using a ferric nitrate and water solution. The door jambs were also cleaned and treated, and a patina re-applied. Lastly, the threshold anchors and closers were re-aligned before each door set was re-installed. The restoration of the Lawrie doors shows just how beautifully designed and ornate the Art Deco Forum Auditorium was, both inside and out, upon its completion in 1931. Ongoing cyclical maintenance of this amazing collection of custom-designed Deco doors, will ensure their preservation for years to come.