Restoring The May Company Building’s White Terra Cotta Façade
The May Company Building is a historic former department store in Cleveland, Ohio currently undergoing an extensive restoration effort, led by Grunwell Cashero. This adaptive reuse project includes interior and exterior renovation, turning the department store into a multi-use building with both residential and commercial spaces. Once complete, the May Company building will boast a total of 308 units of residential space, an interior garage, and the addition of green space on the roof. Boston Valley Terra Cotta is currently manufacturing units of terra cotta for the restoration of the exterior façade and clocktower.
Famous American Architect, Daniel Burnham designed the May Company Department Store Building in 1915. Its appearance is defined by the white terra cotta façade and clock tower, which have both weathered over time. Detailed ornamentation and modest geometric patterns come together, striking a balance between stylization and sophistication. The 9-story building is located in the heart of downtown Cleveland at Public Square Park, and in its time, it was the 3rd largest department store in the United States with 800,000 square feet of space.
Together, Boston Valley and Grunwell Cashero have determined the scope of this project, identifying the stones that need replacement and documenting them accordingly. Through the course of this restoration, 200 stones will be replaced on the north elevation and 1,100 on the south elevation.
After the initial pre-design stage of the manufacturing process, original pieces of The May Company Building are transported to the Boston Valley Terra Cotta factory. Digital models of original masonry are created using state of the art scanning technology, which are carved into foam and used to create molds for reproduction. The units of terra cotta masonry are formed through the hand press and slip casting forming methods, depending on the level of detail and placement on the façade.
Check back soon to see more progress on the restoration of the May Company Building.