Mills + Schnoering Architects, a Forrestal Road-based firm, has earned an award for its work on a project of monumental proportions — the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. The New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has given the firm a merit award for using modern technologies to upgrade visitor safety and comfort at the New York landmark (U.S. 1, July 3, 2013).

The architecture firm led a multidisciplinary team that designed a new staircase and elevator that take visitors to the observation deck on Lady Liberty’s head 89 feet in the air. The company used laser scans to build a 3D model of the statue, then used computer modeling to design the access system in the statue’s extremely limited space — 17 square feet at its narrowest and mostly taken up by massive support beams.

The elevator, which does not touch the support beams or iron tie-downs that hold the statue up, made the observation deck wheelchair accessible for the first time. A new HVAC system makes the copper statue more comfortable for those using the stairs or the elevator. The work was done in 2011 and 2012.

Mills+Schnoering Architects LLC, 200 Forrestal Road, Suite 3A, Princeton 08540; 609-681-2480; fax, 609-681-2481. Michael J. Mills, managing partner.

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