Western Specialty Contractors Restoring Seattle Art Museum’s Original Stone Entrance

Western Specialty Contractors Restoring Seattle Art Museum’s Original Stone Entrance 


Western Specialty Contractors – Seattle Branch has been contracted to repair the stone facade for the original portion of the Seattle Art Museum in downtown Seattle, WA.

The 150,000-square-foot, five-story museum features an undulating facade faced in limestone, incised with “Seattle Art Museum” in large letters. The ground-level entrance features an arcade of arched, triangular and ogee-arched openings trimmed in sandstone, various colored granite, marble and terra cotta pieces. Located at 1300 First Avenue, the museum was constructed in 1991.

The lowest stones above the museum’s original southwest entrance and along the University Street side of the building had begun to shift, causing gaps to form in the façade. Western worked with Seattle-based architect/engineer RDH Building Science to identify why the stones were slipping, the type of mechanical connections currently in place, and the process for removal/repair/reinstallation of the affected stones.

“There are many opportunities for problems to arise due to the stones weighing close to 1,000 pounds each,” said Western Project Manager David Kimble.

Once the cause was confirmed, Western’s craftsmen began removing and repairing the anchoring systems for these stones to restore them to their original positions. Western is also replacing 7,700 LF of stone joint sealant, performing stone patching, applying anti-graffiti sealant, and cleaning over 25,000 SF of the façade.

The project started in June 2023 and is expected to take several months to complete.

“With the project just beginning, we are excited to see the restoration of this beautiful museum to its former appearance,” said Kimble. “Western along with RDH have done a spectacular job at predicting and extinguishing any potential opportunities for future façade failure.” 

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects, and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures including industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures, and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO with 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.