University of Cincinnati


Zimmer Hall is located below-grade, immediately beneath the 34,000-square-foot Zimmer Roof Garden. The below-grade facility houses a large auditorium space and several supporting rooms and office spaces. The roof garden includes greenscape, paved walkways, and seven skylights. Four skylights along the south perimeter are low-profile, square-based pyramids located within a landscaped area above an atrium corridor that provides access to the auditorium. The other three skylights, located in the southwest corner along the west perimeter are taller, free-standing triangular skylights located within a paved walkway. Interior spaces below the three taller skylights include gathering areas and walkways around the auditorium.


WJE investigated the skylights to determine the cause of water infiltration through the skylights and into interior space below. Through various testing methods at representative locations, the water infiltration was replicated illustrating that defects in the skylight frames and a lack of bed sealant between the skylight frame and the concrete curb leads to the reported water infiltration. Additionally, the position of nearby irrigation sprinkler heads can also exploit the deficiencies of the skylights.

WJE presented options for the University to alleviate the concluded contributors to the water infiltration, including the relocation of sprinkler heads and repairs to the skylight frames covered under the original warranty.