The Saint Louis Science Center, located in St. Louis, MO, is one of the only free nonprofit science museums in the country. It serves more than one million people each year, making it one of the largest science centers in the United States.
The James S. McDonnell Planetarium, a main attraction at the Saint Louis Science Center, opened in 1963, and features a 24-meter dome and one of the world’s best opto-mechanical star projectors, the ZEISS UNIVERSARIUM Model IX.
The existing roof was saturated with moisture and was starting to develop leaks, so a total tear-off was required.
However, the planetarium houses sensitive equipment that CANNOT get wet: a multimillion-dollar projection system that displays on a 360-degree domed screen.
There were concrete step-offs located under the existing roof around the perimeter of the building, and there were no dimensions on the original plans, so creating the tapered insulation layout would be especially tricky.
The roof itself is unusual; it’s perfectly round, yet slightly bowl- shaped, with an interior round penthouse. The unique shape made it difficult to design a tapered system, flashings, and terminations for this 30-year project.
The facility hosts daily educational presentations for school children, as well as special events and exhibits, so work couldn’t take place during business hours.
The entire roof is surrounded by 5-foot-tall parapet walls, so tear- off and loading material would be complicated.
The roof had to be torn off, but the $1.6 million projection system inside the building absolutely could not get wet.
Bade Roofing decided to go with a SureMB 120TG Base Ply/ Temporary Roof to ensure the expensive equipment inside the building would be safe and protected throughout the installation process. Of the decision to use SureMB 120TG. It was a secondary line of defense that allowed us to remove the entire roof all at once and not have to rely on tie-ins from the old roof to the new one when the crew started and stopped each night.
Concrete step-offs around the perimeter of the building were under the existing roof, and there were no dimensions on the original plans, so creating the tapered insulation layout was tough. This is another reason we decided to use the SureMB 120TG; it allowed us to really see what was going on with the tapered and make adjustments prior to ordering. The roof itself is perfectly round, yet slightly bowl-shaped, making it difficult to design a tapered system, flashings, and terminations for this 30-year project.
The Science Center and the architect both have a history of using EPDM on their projects because they’ve had a lot of success with it. And with the uncommon design and shape of this roof, EPDM was perfect to mold into all the unique angles and it did a good job conforming to the many curves of the building. We used a 90-mil EPDM to get the 30-year warranty the Science Center wanted and for the overall longevity of the roof.
Work couldn’t take place during business hours.
For this job, we brought in light towers and worked from about 5 pm until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning.
The entire roof is surrounded by 5-foot-tall parapet walls, making tear-off and loading material extra complicated.
We brought in a larger crane that could clear the parapet walls to remove the tear off and load the new material.
St. Louis Science Center Planetarium
5050 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO
4,000 square feet