Clancy & Theys Discusses the Meticulous Design of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral’s Dome

Clancy & Theys Discusses the Meticulous Design of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral’s Dome

July 26, 2017

The News & Observer

 As Raleigh’s Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral opens its doors to the public this week, The News & Observer’s Martha Quillin sat down with Clancy & Theys to learn more about the meticulous process of designing and erecting the cathedral’s copper dome.

Constructing a structure like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and Director of Virtual Design and Construction Harry McKinney wanted to get it right. In a way, he constructed the dome twice – the first time using 3D-design software to build and test the architect’s vision in virtual form. “Virtual design helps prevent problems in the field,” Harry said, and reduces surprises.

Vice President Baker Glasgow added 3D modeling saves time and money on a project by revealing problems when they’re easiest to correct: before materials are purchased and construction is underway.

Harry told Martha he and his team made an important discovery while modeling the dome. The architect had not devised a method for maintenance workers to access the dome once it was hoisted 171 feet in the air. The Clancy & Theys team built the virtual model out to the finest detail, inclusive of all the fastening bolts, rendering the catwalks and ladders that would make the dome accessible for fixing sprinkler heads and changing light bulbs.

Armed with the complete models, builders were able to construct the dome on site as work on the rest of the cathedral continued. In March 2016, the 324,000-pound, 65-foot-tall dome was lifted onto the cathedral with exacting standards, with a margin of error of less than a half-inch.

“And it will last for hundreds of years,” Harry added.

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