Restoring stone balustrades at a city landmark
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Rittenhouse Square is one of Philadelphia’s most prominent and historic parks, and certainly one of William Penn’s original four squares framing the city. The Square’s latest layout dates back to 1913, when the newly formed Rittenhouse Square Improvement Association commissioned a redesign by French architect Paul Phillipe Cret. To date, the Parisian-style Square in big portion displays Cret’s original design and style. The Square’s major walkways are diagonal, beginning in the corners and after that meeting at an oval inside the center. Which has a substantial flower bed in addition to a reflecting pool, the center oval is surrounded by a balustrade and ringed by a circular stroll.
More than the years, the improvements created, which include limestone balustrades and urns, had deteriorated. The Pals of Rittenhouse Square took the 100th anniversary of Cret’s layout as an opportunity to restore these important capabilities to their unique state, with no changing the design. In July of 2013, a group of conservators and masons commenced restoring the park’s limestone balustrades in the four corner entrances. Also towards the masonry project, the park’s lighting was upgraded for each safety and aesthetic purposes. “What we’re attempting to accomplish will be to deliver back the park to what it need to search like, enhancing it somewhat,” explained Betsy Hummel, Mates of Rittenhouse Square president. “I really do not imagine people will observe a tremendous alter, but I believe they’ll notice the park actually looks good, primarily during the night.”
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In Cret’s authentic design, limestone balustrades frame the interior oval and 4 corner entrances. The balustrades were initially built of Indiana limestone, but as time went on, sections had been misplaced for the reason that of weathering, accidents, vandalism or basic put on and tear. This led to a gap-toothed appear in a number of regions of the park. Some of these missing pieces had been replaced with cast stone, when many others had been gone altogether.
“All concrete balusters were replaced with new limestone as part of our scope. We repaired what we could salvage (cracked limestone balusters or balusters with minor loss). We replaced all missing balusters and concrete units with Indiana limestone to match the authentic.”
No adjustments were created to your former style, except a substitution of stainless steel dowels to replace the original iron dowels. To clean the limestone, the workforce utilized a low-pressure mild-abrasive program and an architectural biocide.
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The park’s southwest entrance was finished initially. The team then worked their way across the perimeter entrances and later moved on towards the park’s interior. In addition to the balustrade, the limestone urns had been restored as well as the lead urns repaired.
The Buddies of Rittenhouse Square also worked with all the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Believe in to clear away graffiti in the park — usually on limestone components that necessary to become cleaned and restored. In an work to deter tagging of your freshly cleaned or completely new limestone, surveillance cameras had been set up through the entire place.
The purpose was to finish the venture inside 12 months (with some lead time for baluster building), a timeline that was met effectively. Even so, the workforce did encounter problems along the way. “We encountered a major graffiti challenge, which demanded extensive elimination techniques,” said Freres. “We applied Kiem PSS-20 to coat the stone so that future graffiti may very well be more simply eliminated.”