Monumental Church

Richmond, VA

Project Details

Completed 2005

John Milner Associates

Historic Richmond Foundation

Monumental Church is an octagonally planned masonry structure with both the floors and roof framed in wood. The church was designed by Robert Mills and built in 1814 and is a meld of Roman, Greek and Egyptian motifs. The portico of the building features six Doric columns, and in its center, the tomb combines a sarcophagic base with a Roman-inspired urn.

Structurally, the work features an early use of slender cast iron columns, which support the balcony in the main sanctuary space; an innovative use of a shallow laminated wood dome, with central raised lantern, based on the principles of French architect/engineer Philibert De L’Orme; and an intricate assembly of wood elements to create the spiral staircases up to the balcony level. Silman performed a structural analysis of the building, and also developed repair designs of the existing historic systems in order to strengthen the termite-damaged sanctuary floor.