Completed in 1934, the Christian Science Publishing House Building sits on the 14+ acre The First Church of Christ, Scientist complex in downtown Boston. A historic landmark, the Neoclassic-inspired building houses administrative offices and acts as a portal for some of the complex’s shipping, receiving and maintenance activities. Vital to its operations are 2 large, loading docks, the largest of which measures 47 feet wide and is capped by original bronze doors composed of multiple panels weighing in at over 500 pounds each. While beautiful, these original doors were heavy, slow to move and becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Because of their age, weight and complexity of operation, the Church’s maintenance team had to custom fabricate parts to repair the doors, leading to significant downtime when repairs were required. Continued maintenance of the doors was becoming burdensome. It was time to consider replacement.
The First Church of Christ, Scientist had contracted with Bode several years ago to install, at a different location, two, standard-size Albany Ultra Tough garage doors, specialty rubber roll up doors designed to withstand negative pressure and high use, a project with which they have been very pleased.
“The success of the garage door project was key to our decision to engage Bode for this more complex installation,” comments Kathy Solomon of The First Church of Christ, Scientist.
Of vital concern to the Church was the preservation of the bronze panels surrounding the loading bays as well as stringent safety requirement because of the amount of foot traffic in the area. Additional complexity was added to the installation due to ongoing structural repairs as well as the limited overhead space available for these sizable doors.
Bode’s structural engineers and designers worked closely with the Church’s internal staff and consultants to develop a plan centered around the installation of two additional Albany UltraTough Doors and two Albany UltraBig Doors along with custom-designed header assemblies that not only protected the historic bronze panels but also accommodated the roll-up of the 47 foot wide by 12 and half foot tall door into just a 30-inch clearance space. The entire installation was completed while the loading dock floor was being replaced to minimize downtime for the facility.
The resulting installation weighed in at only 10,000 pounds for the largest door and operated by a single motor at a rate of two feet per minute, considerably lighter and faster than the original doors. Bode was able to provide a complete solution from the initial design and planning to the final installation. All work was completed on time without interfering with the structural repairs that were being done concurrent to the installation. The Church was very pleased with end results and hired Bode to provide ongoing maintenance for the doors as well as other equipment not installed by Bode.
Historical buildings offer unique challenges for companies who run modern-day businesses. When the First Church of Christ, Scientist contacted us about their loading dock dilemma, we knew that we could help provide a safe, secure solution that would accommodate all of their unique challenges.