Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Lewis Contractors completed restorations to the Basilica, America’s First Roman Catholic Cathedral, in both 2006 and 2012. The first set of work was an overall restoration of the old cathedral. The work required four years of pre-construction planning, including many prototypical installations. Due to the large scope of work, the restoration process was split into three phases. Phase I included an underground concrete vault housing public toilets, storage rooms, new mechanical spaces, and the excavation of the undercroft and underpinning of most of the building. Phase II was the reframing of all roofing and reintroduction of 24 skylights into the dome; and the restoration fo the building’s exterior. Phase III included the interior restoration and upgrading of all systems. The project duration was 30 months. This flagship, internationally recognized project was the recipient of the 2006 ABC Baltimore Excellence in Construction Award. It also received the 2009 AIA Honor Award, awarded yearly to only a few projects among hundreds of international entries.

After a successful restoration in 2006, Lewis returned to the Basilica to repair structural damage caused  by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the Mid-Atlantic in August 2011. The church sustained most of the damage at its highest points. The repair work included plaster demolition, masonry repairs, plaster repairs and painting of the interior and exterior elements of the church.  The erection of the scaffolding to reach the high ceilings of the cathedral took seven weeks to complete. Additionally, Lewis installed extensive decorative draping to conceal construction from the public view as all work was completed around weekend services and weddings.  All repairs were completed in time for Holy Week. This project is the recipient of the 2013 Baltimore Heritage Award.

Learn more about Lewis historic restorations.