The Pentagon was constructed in just 17 months during World War II while its renovation consumed 17 years and $4.5 billion. Nonetheless, the now-completed remake of the 6.5 million-square-foot building that sits on a 29-acre site is being considered such a success that its techniques are being applied to other federal projects, The Washington Post reports.
The renovation stripped the massive building down to its concrete columns and rebuilt the building while it continued to be used 24/7 as Defense Department headquarters and suffered an attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
|The Pentagon (Getty Images)
“We took the building apart and put it together again, with 20,000 people sitting in it,” Lee Evey, who oversaw the effort for five of those 17 years, told the Post.
New to the building are 70 elevators and institutional cafeterias have been replaced with a two-story dining atrium. A hot dog stand that used to be in the center courtyard is now the Center Court Cafe, offering panini and quesadillas.
Before the renovation, the Pentagon had not met National Electrical Code standards since 1953 and averaged 20 to 30 power failures a day. The corridors were dark and the only passenger elevator was reserved for the secretary of defense, according to the Post.
The building was divided up into five wedges, which were emptied and gutted one after another. All mechanical systems were replaced and some 70,000 cubic yards of asbestos removed.
The first wedge was completed just before the terrorist attack on 9/11 struck it. The blast-resistant windows, structural supports, and sprinkler system saved lives.
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