Statue of Liberty National Monument
The Statue of Liberty is an international symbol of freedom. Because of the large number of visitors to the Monument, the National Park Service (NPS) determined that the visitor access and egress should be improved to current Life Safety Code standards.
In the first phase of work, M+Sa served as architectural advisor to the NPS for improvements to the double helix stairs that allowed access to the Crown, which had been closed since 9/11. The next phase was a much larger project in the granite Pedestal to design two new stairs, a new main elevator, an emergency elevator to shoulder height in the Statue, a new platform lift providing wheelchair access to the observation level for the first time, as well as air conditioning, ventilation, and emergency systems. The intent of the design was to retain as much of the feeling of the space within the shaft as possible, as well as its industrial aesthetic. The metal and glass stairs intertwine through the space, appearing to be free of the walls, and leaving the original girders visible and untouched. Lighting serves to accent the historic features and material textures, as well as to provide destinations as the stairs wind through the Pedestal.
In order to improve egress capacity, a second exterior stair of granite was also added to the east of the Pedestal to match the existing monumental stair to the west. Two new stairs from the Terreplein to grade provide the last link in the egress route for visitors, exposing buried archaeological elements. These interventions have made the structure more welcoming, safe, and accessible while preserving the significant historic features of this World Heritage Site.
M+Sa is currently working with the National Park Service to rehabilitate the Terreplein plaza with new paving, drainage systems, and waterproofing and to improve parapet safety for visitors with secondary barriers and signage.