Lynn County Courthouse, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Restoration, Architectural Terra cotta

A Look at Some of Boston Valley’s Current Architectural Terra Cotta Restoration Projects

At any given time, Boston Valley Terra Cotta is involved with various architectural restoration projects. Our company is dedicated to using modern methods, tools and fabrication techniques to restore the architectural terra cotta masonry of the past. Terra cotta is known as a long-lasting building solution and with proper care, a building clad in terra cotta can last for hundreds of years. However over time, due to varying weather conditions, insufficient maintenance, and installation techniques, this isn’t always the case and restoration becomes a necessity.

The process of restoring any building requires expertise in planning, strategy, and documentation, leading to the production of the replacement and installation of terra cotta masonry. Boston Valley initiates restoration projects with their pre-design services which includes a site survey, an assessment of the building to document the number and condition of blocks to be replaced. Stones marked for replacement are scanned and documented on site for their size and form. If possible, sample pieces are taken from the building and brought to Boston Valley where the same advanced photogrammetry techniques are then used to document multiple views of each piece. Our digital reproduction services build digital models from the composite mesh scans. With the aid of wire cutters and CNC routers, the digital modeling department creates custom molds for each individual unit of terra cotta masonry from the digital renderings. Depending on the amount of detail, different forming methods are used to best replicate the original pieces.

Below are a few restoration projects in various stages of production currently being worked on at Boston Valley Terra Cotta.

330 South Wells

330 South Wells is an office building in Chicago, Illinois built in 1927, currently undergoing dramatic interior changes in addition to the restoration to the outer façade. Construction on 330 South Wells will result in a mixed-use building with 132 residential units with four levels of newly remodeled office space and retail on the ground floor.

LG Development, 330 South Wells, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Restoration, Masonry

An original terra cotta masonry unit next to a mold with sculptural details being worked on.

 

LG Development, 330 South Wells, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Restoration, Masonry

Unfired terra cotta awaiting glaze application.

451 Broome

451 Broome Street is being restored into a 12-story mixed use building in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. Originally designed by Townsend Williams with William Birkmire in 1895, the building is also known as The Silk Exchange Building. This landmark building features an ornamented terra cotta façade that harkens back to the exquisite flourishes and details of the Baroque period.

451 Broome, SoHo, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, NYC, TerraCottaNYC, terra cotta restoration

Molds allow Boston Valley to create replicas of original terra cotta pieces. This method is best for preserving details and ornamentation.

 

451 Broome, SoHo, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, NYC, TerraCottaNYC, terra cotta restoration

Textures are added and fine details are refined in the finishing department.

 

451 Broome, SoHo, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, NYC, TerraCottaNYC, terra cotta restoration

451 Broome features much ornamental detailing. Terra cotta masonry units are formed by molds and then taken to the finishing department for fine detailing.

Aviation High School

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Architectural Terra Cotta, Glaze, Restoration

Terra cotta units produced for Aviation High School features a light blue glaze.

Capitol Theatre

The 1928 Capitol Theatre in Flint, Michigan features ornate terra cotta architecture throughout the building. In a previous blog post. Boston Valley was working on large terra cotta units, mocking them up in foam before casting molds for the project.

Capitol Theatre, Restoration, Boston Valley Terra Cotta

Ornate terra cotta masonry units in the finishing department before glaze application and firing.

The Dancy Building

The 1912 Cameron County Courthouse, also known as The Dancy Building, is a 20th Century Revival Style courthouse currently being restored. Terra cotta manufactured for this project will replace pieces of the damaged façade over the windows, entrances and the decorative molding across the top of the building.

Dancy Building, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Cameron County Courthouse

Units of terra cotta have been created using the RAM Press and Hand Press forming methods.

Lynn County Courthouse

Units of terra cotta manufactured for the Lynn County Courthouse will replace pieces of the building’s signature columns.

Lynn County Courthouse, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Restoration, Architectural Terra cotta

Multiple copies of a terra cotta unit with complex details are created with slip casting.

 

Lynn County Courthouse, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Restoration, Architectural Terra cotta

Terra cotta masonry units are left to dry before glaze application.

 

Lynn County Courthouse, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Restoration, Architectural Terra cotta

Terra cotta masonry in a dry fit mockup. This is a step in our quality control practices that helps ensure accuracy and alignment.

Check back over the next few months, as these projects get closer to completion, we will be posting the results of our team’s work.