EVENT: Preservation on High: Investigation and Documentation of Monumental Historic Structures

June 9, 2015

Learn how available technological tools help to improve the collection and management of graphical and numerical information derived from building surveys.

dottyarrowLearn more and RSVP here.

DATE: June 11, 2015
TIME: 4:00pm – 6:00pm
LOCATION: Commons, 107 West Denny Way, Suite 303, Seattle, WA 98119

 

Preservation architects, engineers and others involved in the renovation of historic buildings agree on the importance of an efficient and thorough discovery phase. A significant part of that effort is the organized collection of building information and accurate documentation of existing conditions. Even though these discovery tasks are such a significant part of a project, the development and incorporation of tools to improve the process on site and process the resulting information has been slow to develop.

This presentation examines some components of a successful early discovery phase on monumental historic buildings and reviews some technological tools that help to improve the collection and management of graphical and numerical information derived from building surveys.

 

Presenter
Kent Diebolt is the founder of Vertical Access and has been the principal-in-charge for most investigation, testing and inspection projects performed by Vertical Access over the firm’s 22-year history. Since the first Vertical Access project in 1992, Kent and his team have inspected numerous historically significant buildings, constructed of a wide variety of materials. He is an active participant and is a leader in professional preservation and rope access organizations.

Presented by Association for Preservation Technology NW and AIA Seattle Historic Resources Committee

 

 

 

 

Feats of Clay: Philadelphia Brick and Terra Cotta – Exhibit at University of Pennsylvania through Oct 9

May 26, 2015

by Kevin Dalton

I recently attended the opening reception for Feats of Clay: Philadelphia Brick and Terra Cotta, an exhibition on the legacy of Philadelphia’s brick and terra cotta industry at the Harvey and Irwin Kroiz Gallery, The Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania, curated by Frank Matero.

FeatsofClay_ScreenAnnouncementThe exhibit included artifacts from now demolished buildings designed by Philadelphia architects Frank Furness and Cope and Stewardson, brick from works by Louis Kahn as well as examples of some of the cities most underappreciated residential works such as Edgar V. Seeler’s Conkling and Armstrong House in the city’s Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood and the Morris Fleisher Residence designed by Willis G. Hale and located in the Fairmount section of the city.

Featured alongside the architectural works were interesting catalogs, brick samples and maps of past and present Philadelphia area brick and terra cotta manufactories such O.W. Ketchum, Sayre & Fisher Brick Company, McAvoy Brick (which still operates in Phoenixville, PA) and some wonderful examples of the ornamental clay products produced by Peerless Brick Company.

Having trained as a bricklayer since the age of 18, I spent several years working out of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union (Local 1 PA/DE) in Philadelphia and have grown to love the wonderful brickwork that is ubiquitous in Philadelphia. This exhibit focuses on the city’s long and storied history of brick manufacturing and the architectural masterpieces that resulted and also serves as a stark reminder of the treasures that we have lost.

For those of you who are brick enthusiasts like me, you can find some of these amazing brick and terra cotta remnants of the past for purchase at several architectural salvage stores in and around Philadelphia such as: Provenance Old Soul Architectural Salvage, Philadelphia Salvage Company and Harry Bambi Supplies.

Gallery hours are 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday-Friday.  The exhibit runs through October 9, 2015.

 

 

 


Removal of the Clock Hands on Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus

February 17, 2014

by Kevin Dalton

We recently worked on an interesting project at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.  Our mission: to remove the clock hands from four clock faces on the tower of Keating Hall and one clock atop LaLande Hall in Martyrs Court.

The hands were removed and turned over to The Verdin Company so they could be restored. Once restored, the hands will be re-installed. The project was coordinated by Bob Rush with Structure Tone, Inc.

The crenellated parapet at the top of the tower on Keating had bird protection on the top of the walls so we had to lower ropes through the crenels and climb up to the clock which was about a 150’ climb from the roof of the main building below.

The clock hands were pretty big; the hour hand was a little over 6’ long and the minute hand was over 7’ long. We rigged all the hands to lower before loosening any of the nuts or bolts that connected them to the shaft.

One of the minute hands was stuck and we had a really hard time removing it. It typically took us 30-45 minutes to remove both hands on each of three out of four faces but we spent over 3 hours on the southeast face on the first day trying to remove the minute hand without success. It was a little over 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) and the wind was blowing 15 – 20 mph directly into my face so I decided to accept defeat and go get warm before moving onto another set of hands. We came back to the southeast face the next day with a specialty tool provided by Dennis Lindo from The Verdin Company and after a few minutes the hand was free.

We finished up the second day at Martyrs Court which was only about 50’ off the ground but in an area that is difficult to access with a lift. Due to icy conditions on the roof we thought it safer to toss the ropes out to the face of the building and climb up from the ground. After almost 1,000’ of vertical climbing at Keating Hall 50’ was a walk in the park.

When I arrived at the clock face I had the minute hand off in a matter of minutes but the hour hand looked like it might take hours to remove. It was completely rusted onto the shaft and wouldn’t budge. Luckily the entire mechanism is being replaced so Dennis cut the shaft from the inside with a reciprocating saw. The white part of the clock  is just a thin piece of glass (probably 1/8” thick) so we had to saw very carefully. Fortunately we were able to keep the shaft off the glass and the hand came off without incident.


APT 2013 NYC – The Guastavino Vault Workshop

November 1, 2013

During the recent Association for Preservation Technology (APT) conference – APT NYC 2013 Preserving the Metropolis – Kent Diebolt, Kevin Dalton and Berta de Miguel, from Vertical Access, organized a Hands-on Construction of “Guastavino” Thin Tile Vaults workshop. Other faculty fellows worked in conjunction with VA members: Benjamín Ibarra, Assistant Professor of Architecure UT Austin, Mallory Taub, an Energy Specialist at Arup in San Francisco, David López López, Architect and PhD candidate in the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich, Switzerland and Marta Domènech Rodríguez, PhD candidate in the Architectural Design Department at Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Spain. The team was assisted by Ken and David Follet, from Precon Logstrat, LLC, “consultants with tools”.vault-dwgs

The workshop consisted of building two small tiled vaults: a groin vault and a barrel vault with lunettes. The vaults, of approximately 6×6 feet were built with tiles measuring 7 3/8″ x 3 3/4″ x 5/8″ donated by Boston Valley Terracotta.

The venue for the event was the atelier of Ottavino Stone Corporation, kindly donated by that same corporation, which is celebrating their centennial this year. Additional funding came from the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology through APTI and Vertical Access LLC. We cannot thank our sponsors enough for their support!

The attendees were an interesting group of 21 people from different nationalities and backgrounds such as architects, material specialists, engineers, architectural conservators, preservationists and project managers from companies and organizations such as VanNostrad Architects, UNESCO, Consigli Construction, Superstructures, Built Environment Evolution, Washington National Cathedral, Williamsburg Preservation Tec, Murray Engineering, Alternativist/Urban Earth, Evergreene Architectural Arts, Old Structures Engineering, Bennett Preservation Engineering, Atkinson-Noland & Associates, FGMDA Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet & Associates, Goldsmith Borgal & Company Architects, Heritage Building Conservator, Robert Silman Associates, Building Conservation Associates and and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates.

The workshop lasted two full days. During the fist day, the forms for the arches were set in place, plumbed and fixed. Next, the tiles of the arches were set with plaster of Paris for the first layer, and mortar cement on the second and third layers. Once the arches were completed, the webs of the vaults started to close the vaults from the arches to the center.

The first layer was set with plaster of Paris due to the rapid setting time (10-15 seconds approximately). During the second day, once the first layer was finished, the attendees, divided in two teams, started and finished the second layer, set up with mortar cement, which confers strength to the structure.

By the end of the second day, everybody took turns standing on the vaults. We all learned a lot from each other and gained an appreciation for the skill that it took to build these full-scale vaults. Finally, and most importantly, we all had a wonderful time.IMGP9925

 

> Watch a video news story about Rafael Guastavino that includes time-lapse footage from this workshop and interviews with Berta de Miguel and Kent Diebolt. The piece was produced by RTVE, a public broadcasting station from Spain.

 A portion of our annual contribution to 1% for the Planet helped support this event . Read a short post about how VA got involved with One Percent  Print.


Photos from 2-Day Guastavino Workshop at APT NYC 2013

October 14, 2013

Great two-day workshop at APT NYC 2013 sponsored in part by A. Ottavino Corporation, Vertical Access LLC, Boston Valley Terra Cotta and a grant from NCPTT Workshop.

See photos on the Association for Preservation Technology Facebook page.


Guastavino Vault Workshop at APT NYC 2013 Conference

April 30, 2013

clientuploads/2013_conference_art/P1080599.jpgSponsored in part by a grant from NCPTT Workshop.

Fri, Oct 11, 8:00 – 5:00
Sat, Oct 12, 8:00 – 4:00
Location: Ottavino Stone

“American architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries would often leave empty spaces in their blueprints and simply write, ‘Guastavino here.’ They had faith that Rafael Guastavino would create elegant, highly functional spaces to grace their buildings. Guastavino — part architect, part engineer — was particularly famous for his beautifully crafted, structurally powerful, tiled arched vaults.” (An excerpt – read the full article from the Boston Globe.)

Participants will have the opportunity to construct a variety of simple “Guastavino” vaults. The morning of the first day will involve a demonstration of the construction, after which, teams of approximately six participants will have the opportunity to undertake “hands-on” construction of these vaults. Vaults will be constructed of single, double and triple wythes of tile, and may be load tested at a later date.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Lay out and initiate a simple tile vault
  2. Mix mortars to appropriate consistency and quantities to install both soffit and structural tile wythes
  3. Set soffit and structural tile to progress through multiple-wythe construction
  4. Experience the sequence of construction, including the breaking of joints
  5. Strike and clean joints, particularly in the soffit layer of tile
  6. Develop an appreciation for the craftsmanship that has been lost since the construction of vaults in so many important buildings across the United States

For more details visit the APT NYC 2013 Conference Website


Documenting Historic Resources at the Tremont Nail Company

April 18, 2013

by Kelly Streeter

Tremont Nail Factory in Wareham, MA

Tremont Nail Factory in Wareham, MA

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak to a Bachelor Design Studio class from Boston Architectural College (BAC) and demonstrate the documentation of historic resources using TPAS™.  Professor Johanna Rowley is directing her students in a case study at the 19th century factory of the Tremont Nail Company in Wareham, MA, a practical application of research and field work with real world implications.

Ms. Rowley first became aware of the site in 2011 while working on a BAC-funded project to investigate disaster recovery at restoration sites in the aftermath of the tornadoes that hit Springfield in 2011.   The site was purchased by the town in 2006 when Acorn Manufacturing moved the nail operation and has languished unused ever since.  Ms. Rowley’s goal is to mobilize her students and the community to help Wareham stabilize and document the site as an initial step in the effort to determine how the adaptation of the buildings and site could serve to fill existing needs of the community.

I met with Johanna and her students to discuss the goals of the site inspection.  The class had previously prepared background drawings from field measurements and archival data.  We then went into the field, with two separate teams working together with a TPAS™ kit to document and photograph the existing conditions at the site.  This information will now be used by the class to assess and prioritize the preservation needs of the site.

It was a fun day at an amazing landmark.  To follow the effort,  “Like”  their Facebook page.

Read article, Hammering out Tremont Nail’s restoration in Wareham


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