Beyond the Build


What Lies Beneath

If you drive near the east end Birmingham’s CBD, it’s hard to miss Sloss Furnaces, a designated National Historic Landmark. For almost 100 years, the site operated its blast furnaces. Today, the site is still in operation, but now as a historic park. The grounds are home to various artists in residence and to Slossfest, a weekend of concerts held every summer. This heavy traffic makes structural safety a top priority.

We have been consulting for Sloss (and the City of Birmingham) over the last year to prioritize areas of the site that need renovation and repair. Working with various engineering consultants, we identified the “Stock Trestle Coke Bin #1” as a place that needed tunnel repairs to remain safe. We uncovered, prepped and formed a new concrete structure to the existing roof, which now permanently secures and seals this portion of the structure.

These tunnels were once a storage place for the raw materials to make iron, and a vital part of production at Sloss. At this National Historic Landmark, what lays below the surface may be as important as what you see above. It was a privilege to be on the restoration team.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.