The New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) has awarded design firm Mills + Schnoering Architects LLC with a Merit Award in the Historic Preservation category for its use of contemporary technologies to upgrade visitor safety and comfort at the Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York, N.Y. “The ingenuity that Mills + Schnoering demonstrated in its preservation of the Statue of Liberty is the exact type of work that AIA-NJ looks to recognize with its annual design awards,” said Kurt Kalafsky, AIA, president of AIA-NJ. “The entire New Jersey architectural community should be proud to know that one of our own served as steward to an essential piece of American history.” The National Park Service retained a multi-disciplinary design team led by Mills + Schnoering to perform the upgrades to the monument. Severely limited space within the statue’s pedestal posed challenges for the firm, which designed new staircases and a new elevator to deliver visitors to the observation deck and the crown safely and more comfortably. Mills + Schnoering used Revit, a three-dimensional modeling software, to create a virtual model of the entire monument from laser scans. The interior of the pedestal — 17 square feet at its narrowest and only 27 square feet at its widest — contains massive beams supporting the statue, which further constrict the pedestal’s interior space. Gustave Eiffel, the celebrated engineer of the Eiffel Tower, designed this original support system. Mills + Schnoering configured two new staircases and two elevators within this interior space without touching Eiffel’s steel support beams and enormous iron tie-down straps that hold the statue in place. Additionally, the firm threaded the stairs and elevators through the narrow interior, which has little room for error.