Archive for February, 2014

Liberty Memorial

The most prominent feature of Kansas City’s Liberty Memorial is arguably its 217-foot-tall tower. Photo courtesy of Structural Engineering Associates

This year marks the beginning of the centennial observance of World War I, 1914-1918. The heart of that observance stands in the heartland — at Kansas City’s Liberty Memorial, a registered National Historic Landmark and home of the officially designated World War I museum of the United States.

So to call a project to clean and restore such a monument a great undertaking is… greatly understated. And it also takes time.

One iteration of the monument’s restoration began in 2000, when subcontractor Mid Continental Restoration Co. (along with general contractor JE Dunn Construction and a bevy of architects and engineers) used PROSOCO products to clean the memorial. They installed about 13,000 cubic feet of new stone, and cleaned and replaced around 24,000 cubic feet of existing limestone.

By this time, Liberty Memorial was a well-known site to PROSOCO. Its representatives had conducted surveys on the stone and also removed graffiti in the 1980s.

So when an army of designers and contractors undertook a $1.35 million masonry restoration project in 2012 to clean and protect the mostly limestone exterior of the complex, PROSOCO was ready for the call.

If you haven’t ever visited, put the Liberty Memorial on your list the next time you’re in Kansas City. Its stunning aesthetics have been part of the town’s cityscape since its dedication by President Calvin Coolidge in 1926.

The Liberty Memorial overlooks downtown Kansas City.

The Liberty Memorial overlooks downtown Kansas City. Photo courtesy of National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial

The monument, designed by Harold Van Buren Magonigle in an Egyptian Revival architectural style on 47 acres, includes a 217-foot-tall tower, two Assyrian sphinxes, the 488-foot-by-48-foot Great Frieze on the North Wall, the Dedication Wall and many more elements constructed of limestone.

Under a design team led by Gould Evans and in conjunction with General Contractor JE Dunn Construction, two Kansas City firms — Structural Engineering Associates and Susan Richards Johnson & Associates — worked in collaboration to complete the limestone restoration. That included cleaning and sealing of the main entry, tower, General’s Wall and fountains, south entry courtyard, sphinxes, and the Great Frieze on the North Wall.

A variety of sources and types of limestones comprising the massive structure complicated the scope of the project. There was limestone old and new, buff and variegated, from different sections of quarries and varying grades. But it wasn’t too much for PROSOCO’s EnviroKlean ReKlaim (formerly known as BioKlean), ReVive (formerly known as BioWash), OH100 Consolidation Treatment, SureKlean Weather Seal Natural Stone Treatment and more.

Liberty Memorial tower

Photo courtesy of Structural Engineering Associates

Kirk Matchell, restoration project manager and associate at Structural Engineering Associates, said that PROSOCO products were specified almost exclusively in the publicly bid restoration job.

“We had worked with PROSOCO’s products for many many years,” Matchell said. “(The products) did wonderfully. They took care of all of the stain issues, and we (applied) a really good water repellent. It’s holding its color, and it’s done what we’ve asked for it to do.”

For Julie Garvey, project designer of Susan Richards Johnson & Associates, familiarity with PROSOCO’s cleaning and protective treatments played a crucial role in those products getting into the specs.

Mike Dickey of Dickey Sales LLC, a manufacturer’s sales rep for PROSOCO, had volunteered to perform a test sample for the firm, “so that we could determine the efficacy of the product… and make sure that no damage or detriment would be seen with the product on the stone in the long term,” Garvey said.

The sample, conducted a full year before construction began, tested 10-year-old Indiana limestone that had been experiencing severe discoloration due to mildew and staining. On the right-hand side of the sample (pictured), the control was power-washed with warm water. The left side of the sample was cleaned with ReKlaim, followed by an application of EnviroKlean Revive (formerly known as BioWash). On the lower half of the left side, a consolidant (OH100) and PROSOCO’s SureKlean Limestone & Masonry Afterwash was applied to demonstrate that “the product would not discolor or darken the stone in any way.” Garvey and others from the firm, including Project Architect Angie Gaebler, watched the three sections as they were left exposed to the elements for a full year.

Test panel at Liberty Memorial

The test panel at Liberty Memorial included the control panel (right), which was power-washed, and the left-side panel, which was treated with PROSOCO’s ReKlaim and ReVive cleaners. They were found to safely remove biological and atmospheric staining on the limestone. Photo courtesy of Susan Richards Johnson & Associates

A year later, Garvey said they “saw significant improvement in the overall appearance of the stone, it was not discolored, and the area was remaining clean longer. There were no detrimental effects of the water repellent or cleaning treatments, and we approved those for the Liberty Memorial.”

Construction started in 2012 and was completed late last year, but the work of everyone involved didn’t go unnoticed. The restoration of the memorial’s Wall of Dedication earned a 2012 Preservation Award in the conservation category from Historic Kansas City, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the city’s buildings of “historical, cultural or architectural significance.” This wall commemorates the five allied leaders — Lt. Gen. Baron Jacques of Belgium; Admiral Earl Beatty of Great Britain; Gen. Armando Diaz of Italy; Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France; and Gen. John Pershing of the U.S. — who attended the memorial’s groundbreaking ceremony in 1921.

In addition, the overall masonry repairs of the memorial garnered an award of merit from the International Concrete Repair Institute in the historic category.

But it didn’t take international awards for the project’s architects to take pride in the finished product. “It was a labor of love,” Garvey of Susan Richards Johnson & Associates said. “We’re truly honored to have been part of such a significant historic property here in town.”

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Fifteen astute readers of PROSOCO News correctly identified the project highlighted in the last issue — the old New York County Courthouse, or the Tweed Courthouse, in New York City.

pint-glassThey each received a sparkling PROSOCO pint glass in the mail, along with a certificate proclaiming their knowledge of architectural structures near and far.

They are:

  • Keith Anderson, WRA Architects Inc., Dallas, Texas
  • Matt Brokenshire, FGM Architects, Oak Brook, Illinois
  • Rebecca Davis, RBS Design Group Architecture, Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Brian Haave, Gensler Architects, Washington, D.C.
  • Asif Haque, Heffner Architects, PC, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Kevin Jarman, AIA, Johnson Cartwright Jarman Architects, P.A., Tampa, Florida
  • Howard Langner, Texas Historical Commission, Austin, Texas
  • Lynne Martin, Belair Road Supply, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Jonas Packer, AECOM, Chicago, Illinois
  • Amy Randy, CSI, CDT, Allied AIA, Cuningham Group Architecture Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Darius Shroff, HDR Architecture Inc., Dallas, Texas
  • Scott Slimp, Intrepid Enterprises Inc., Harvey, Louisiana
  • Andy Vohs, Chamberlin Contracting Inc., Kansas City, Missouri
  • Bob Waltzer, The Chas. E. Phipps Company, Perrysburg, Ohio
  • Stephen Weihing, Jamison Masonry Restoration LLC, Oreland, Pennsylvania

Congrats to all our winners, who will also be recognized in the next issue of PROSOCO News. Keep reading!

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John-Bourne-BWContractors, architects and distributors in the New York City, eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware markets may notice they’re seeing a little less of John Bourne these days. There’s a reason why.

Bourne, Vice President of Northeast Sales for PROSOCO and one of the company’s most seasoned employees with a tenure of 37 years, has started phasing out his workload in a transition that will ultimately lead to his retirement in March 2015.

This year, John is working a reduced schedule of three days a week. And beginning in January of 2015, he’ll work two days each week until his retirement in March of that year.

Those who have worked with John — whether they’ve known him for a few months or a few decades — aren’t looking forward to saying goodbye to the easy-going guy from New Jersey who has a knack for making people around him feel at ease.

On the brink of big business

When John Bourne began his career in sales at PROSOCO in 1977, he had little experience in the business, and on top of that, his assigned region was the notoriously tough-to-break-into New York City market.

But Bourne’s laid-back personality helped him work his way in, and contractors quickly grew to like and trust him, said Jerry Boyer, former CEO of PROSOCO who is semi-retired from the company.

“He earned his way,” Boyer said. “He really did. New York City is a tough market. He served this company very well during that time, and it was a critical time.” (more…)

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