Bringing masonry structures back to their original condition or repurposing them. Learn about the latest rehab tools: Cleaning, Tuckpointing, Sealing & more.
Mesa Community College (MCC) in Mesa, Ariz., serves the academic needs of nearly 26,000 students by offering more than 200 degrees and certificates in everything from biotechnology, computer science, and dental hygiene to mortuary science and urban horticulture. However, it was a re-dedication to music and the arts that gave birth to a new Performing Arts Center, acoustically fine-tuned with an inner and outer shell of sound-reflective masonry.
With building restoration projects, you have few or no options other than to use existing materials to replicate an old building back to its former glory. But that is not always easy to do. Some buildings have major problems, from correcting structural issues to matching the aesthetic appeal of its original design. This work is not for the faint hearted because many times you won’t know what damage lies beneath the surface.
For nearly a century, throngs of area residents of Waltham, Mass., made their way to work in the iconic 1854 factory of the Waltham Watch Company along the Charles River. The first enterprise to produce watches on an assembly line, the company operated in its expansive, 405,000-square-foot facility until 1949, after which a few light industrial and office tenants occupied the buildings.
Cintec International, a leader in the field of structural masonry retrofit strengthening, repair, and preservation, reported recently that its patented anchors were used in the restoration of Astley Castle in Warwickshire, England. Following its renovations, Astley Castle was awarded the prestigious Riba Stirling Prize for Architecture.
As in all aspects of masonry, there is a great deal of artistry in restoring older and historic masonry. When tackling a new project, the artisan mason, while not looking for originality, needs to have a vision of the tradition of the structure, the composition and formulation of the original materials, and knowledge of the technology of the period in which the original was created.
Balancing preservation with modern functionality is not an easy job for any restoration project, but when converting a 19th century prison into a 21st century, luxury hotel, the situation is unusual if not unprecedented. In 2002, a design and construction team led by Cambridge Seven Associates began a five-year process to restore the defunct Charles Street Jail in Boston.