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A Dome of Her Own


Sandy Vieyra’s replica of the Billings Administration Building, made by her dad.

Sandy Vieyra’s father always liked to draw and sketch, and he had an uncanny ability to understand how buildings were constructed. So when Vieyra joined Johns Hopkins nearly 10 years ago and told her father, Albert Jachelski, about her love of the hospital’s signature dome, he built her one.

Working out of his basement in Highlandtown, the 71-year-old retired factory worker constructed a replica of the Billings Administration Building from a photo. He began with the central portion, complete with its towering dome and then added the north and south wings and all 16 chimneys. He searched high and low until he found just the right shade of red paint for the exterior and the proper shade of gray for the trim. For the finishing touches, he inserted a battery-operated light inside the dome, encircled its cupola with a tiny black railing, and placed a miniature white-coated physician and a uniformed doorman at the entrance.

In all, Jachelski used 9,000 craft picks, 3-inch long, flat pieces of wood used for making decorative projects. He started the project last June and finished in December. Since then, the model has resided on the third floor of Phipps, where Vieyra works as a senior administrative assistant in neurology/neurosurgery and where it regularly receives its fair share of admirers.

Anne Bennett Swingle

 

 

 

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