Lawyer's Mall Historic Courtyard
North Point Builders was the Construction Manager for the renovation of the Lawyer’s Mall historic courtyard. Located in the Historic Annapolis District, the Lawyer’s Mall features the Thurgood Marshall Memorial. Due to the Annapolis Government Complex’s need for emergency infrastructure work, the memorial was safely relocated so the Lawyer’s Mall could be demolished. While emergency infrastructure work was performed, a plan was developed to rebuild the Lawyer’s Mall and preserve the historic memorial.
This plan included a 6,000 SF mall area to feature a historic limestone colonnade, four historic bronze statues, granite vehicle barrier walls, granite curbs for planting beds and walkways, an inscribed granite courtyard, inscribed granite benches, and a granite speaker podium. Beneath these breathtaking features and beautiful landscaping lies a maze of infrastructure work in addition to an Uponor snow melt system. Immaculate precision was necessary when placing the utilities, snow melt piping, and cast-in-place concrete as their placement unforgivingly affected the positioning of every element on the surface.
On top of installing very complex and interconnected systems, there were strict deadlines to complete the mall in time for the start of the General Assembly State Legislature session in January 2021. Design began in November 2019 based on preliminary design approval by the State House Trust. The extremely aggressive schedule required a high level of coordination and skill to successfully install the inconspicuously complex mall.
The project’s ultimate success depended on the return of the historic statues and limestone colonnade to their original placement. As part of the emergency infrastructure repairs, the state removed the four statues and colonnade. The Thurgood Marshall statue was temporarily relocated to the entrance of the Court of Appeals while the other memorial components were put in storage.
Due to years of weathering and erosion, the colonnade required specialized repairs. The process began by carefully testing cleaning and patching methods for repairing stains, chips, cracks, and erosion on the limestone colonnade. The Historic Trust, Government officials, and design team approved the repair methods based on the mockups. The chosen repair methods show minimal variances between the original and repaired limestone, making the work fairly undetectable to viewers.
Original Historic Limestone Colonnade
Thurgood Marshall Statue
Once granite work could commence in the main courtyard, a detailed plan was created to bring the Thurgood Marshall statue to the mall. The plan was devised into three parts; (1) relocate the statue from the Annapolis Court of Appeals to Lawyer’s mall, (2) remove the original stone base, and (3) securely set the statue on the new base.
The relocation of the statue was a sensitive task as the job required thorough coordination with various entities. On moving day, the Historic Trust, Government officials, design team and NPB monitored the operation. Early that morning, the 9,000 lb statue was carefully secured to a crane, raised from the ground, and gently maneuvered to a nearby truck. The statue was transported 1 mile to the project site and lowered to the ground.
Next came the tedious task of chipping the old stone base from the statue. The craftsmen were extremely cautious to ensure the statue was removed without any damage to the bronze statue or anchors. After many hours, the bronze was successfully separated from the old base and moved over to the new base.
While hooked to the crane and hovering inches over the new base, the artist (Antonio Mendez), Historic Trust, Government officials, and design team guided the craftsmen in the preliminary placement of the statue. Base on this placement, new holes were drilled for the anchors in the new base. Following that, the same group of advisors dictated the final orientation of the statue, making the slightest adjustments to maintain the artist’s intent of alignment with the colonnade and adjacent buildings. Once the final orientation was agreed upon, the anchors were epoxied to permanently secure the statue.
Donald Gaines Murray and Children Statues
After the Thurgood Marshall statue was set, the next 3 statues were approximately placed on their prospective benches. The placement of these statues was challenging due to the new courtyard design. The originally flat mall was redesigned with a slope to improve drainage. With the statues initially created for a flat grade, the new memorial benches were fabricated with specific dimensions to accommodate the statue’s elevation discrepancy. The same team of advisors meticulously adjusted the 3 statues according to the effect of cast shadows and spacing between the statue bodies and granite.
These historic elements are what make the Lawyer’s Mall memorable. Thanks to the various experts involved in the process, the statues rest in their rightful places.
Thurgood Marshall Statue relocation from Annapolis Court of Appeals to Lawyer’s Mall
The Thurgood Marshall Statue was carefully separated from its original stone base.
Statues of Donald Gaines Murray (left) and the anonymous children representing the achievement of the Brown v. Board of Education (right)
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