After centuries of occupancy, the 18th-century former home of Francis Lightfoot Lee fell into serious decline. In the late 1960s, a falling tree caused a portion of the structure to collapse and left its interior exposed. A temporary protective enclosure currently spans over the ruins to protect them from the elements.
Silman performed a structural evaluation and provided recommendations for stabilization and safety during the removal of debris and historic fabric. Portions of the structure that remain standing are the two main chimney stacks; the southwest and northeast corner walls; and some wood framing of the roof, second, and first floors at the northeast corner.
Silman is now on the design team to preserve the house’s remnants and reconstruct missing areas in structural glass. This strategy will offer visitors a unique vantage point into the house’s many parts and pieces.
The primary structural scope of work consists of the design of a new steel armature and details of attachment of the new structure to the existing masonry walls. The design of the new steel armature relies on the existing masonry walls to resist lateral and shear forces, taking advantage of the stiffness to maintain a light frame for the remainder of the building.