Cleveland Museum of Art

The Rise Group
Cleveland, OH

Investigation of Water Infiltration into the Breuer Entry Vestibule

Immediately after construction on a subterranean entrance to the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) was completed, museum employees reported water leakage and water-related damage to interior finishes. Prior to WJE's investigation, multiple remedial repair efforts had been made to address the water infiltration. These efforts reportedly resulted in an increase in the severity of water infiltration.


The original CMA building was constructed in 1916. The Breuer Building, designed by renowned architect Marcel Breuer, was added in 1971 and has granite cladding on precast concrete panels. As part of a renovation and expansion project, the main entrance to the Breuer Building was renovated to include an expanded grade-level custom glass entry vestibule and a below-grade pedestrian tunnel connecting the museum to an adjacent parking garage. The roof and walls of the new entrance lobby abut the existing granite cladding.


WJE conducted an investigation to determine the causes of water infiltration. The project team was able to complete the investigation while minimizing impacts to the operation of the museum. WJE determined that the vast majority of water infiltration into the pedestrian tunnel was from water bypassing the membrane waterproofing base flashing along the new vestibule storefront. WJE developed repair sketches, which were installed and water leakage tested to verify performance. The repair was successful, and the entrance was quickly put back into service. By responding quickly to the client's needs and working closely with the waterproofing repair contractor and material manufacturer, WJE was able to expedite repairs and alleviate a problematic water infiltration problem at this high profile museum. With the unsightly water infiltration problems solved, visitors' first impression of the museum is now enhanced.