City of Reading Pagoda | Berks County


Standing on the mountaintop at 620 feet above the city of Reading, PA is a Berks County historical claim to fame - the Pagoda. Commissioned in 1906 for $50,000 by William A. Witman, Sr. to cover his stone quarry, the Pagoda was completed in 1908. The Pagoda is 7 stories high, 28 feet wide, and 50 feet long. There are a total of 87 steps to the top. The walls are 5 feet thick at the base tapering to 2 feet thick at the top of the second floor, from there to the top, they are frame-covered with terra-cotta shingles - there are 60 tons of tiles on the Pagoda. 

SSM provided a Topographical and Building survey using conventional and HDS (High-Density Scanning) technology. The job included surveying the areas around the building in order to design and construct a Japanese garden and improve the parking area below the large stone walls that surround the Pagoda.

SSM also performed geotechnical investigations in the areas of the existing and future retaining walls at the lower entrance. Designs for the new walls, parking lot expansion and landscaping in the terrace garden were also provided. This included the design of a driveway with parking and handicap accessibility along Duryea Drive and creation of the new garden on the existing terrace. To complete this phase, structural repairs and stabilization designs for the building, walls and landscape would be provided, as well as minor plumbing modifications.

Following these designs, SSM prepared plans to upgrade and expand the Pagoda’s outdated and inefficient HVAC systems, as well as replaced the unique exterior lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting.