An old church dome in Orange, Texas, has been returned to its former glory and given new life as The Center of Stark Cultural Venues.

Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, a private operating foundation established to encourage and assist education and to improve and enrich the quality of life in Southeast Texas, purchased the old church to be the center location of all Stark Cultural Venues in May 2013.

The historic dome became an Orange landmark when erected in 1914 as the worship center for First Baptist Church, originally constructed as a brick building with a 35-foot dome comprised of wooden shingles. Over the past 100 years, the dome underwent several renovations to prevent corrosion and aide in waterproofing, but these efforts did not permanently address the issues.

“In the 1960s, the dome was clad with metal,” said Gus Harris, chief properties officer of Stark Foundation. “This served the church well but eventually began to leak, primarily due to inappropriate flashing and caulking near the bottom.”

The aluminum-clad dome suffered major damage to the exterior over time due to several severe storms and hurricanes including Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008, causing it to leak and creating water damage to the interior. The plans to renovate included rendering the structure water tight and changing the existing appearance of the dome to resemble the original 1914 design.

“We consulted with waterproofing experts and architects,” said Harris. “They recommended a total roof replacement, including the dome. We decided to replace the metal dome covering with [MetalTech’s] product due to both appearance and cost effectiveness.”        

The dome exterior was updated with 2,000 square feet of RHEINZINK 0.8mm prePATINA blue-grey zinc. MetalTech-USA fabricated the pre-weathered zinc flatlock system, installed in a square diamond orientation along the dome surface, to resemble the 1914 shingle design. The transition from flatlock diamond tile, which makes up about 90 percent of the lower portion of the dome, to a standing seam system at the apex of the dome not only added waterproofing but also visual interest. RHEINZINK material in roofing applications can last 80-100 years due to its natural, protective patina derived from the combination of water, carbon dioxide and oxygen. This zinc layer, insoluble in rainwater, will hinder any further exchanges between oxygen and zinc protecting it from further corrosion.

“The MetalTech flatlock panel system is perfect for designs with curved surfaces, allowing the panel to naturally adapt to the substrate as it’s installed using our pre-notched clip detailing with concealed fasteners,” said Eric Simonsen, MetalTech-USA vice president of project management and design support. “The dome was segmented into eight wedges so that a uniform panel size and shape could be used and keep all courses of panels square.”

Installation of the MetalTech-USA Flatlock Tile system was completed by Competition Roofing Inc. of Houston. With its completed new look and watertight system, the dome will remain a historical landmark for several centuries to come.

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