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Discreet repairs and enhancements for masonry structures.
43 MacDougal Street
Location: New York, NY
Age/Built: Built 1846
Key Topics: Stabilization of Historic Structures, Testing and Analysis, Facade Repair and Attachment, Adaptive Reuse, Gruenstark (GS) Anchors

Project Background:

  • An 1846 Greek Revival rowhouse (and fabled mafia hangout) located in the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District, which was once the site of George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War
  • Was left in disrepair for several years by a previous owner, one of the first to be sued by the City of New York for “demolition by neglect” of a landmarked property. This motivated the sale of the historic property, paving the way for a full restoration
  • New owners answered years of community activists and NY Landmarks Preservation Commission calls to preserve the historic facades instead of rebuilding them

Challenges Presented:

  • Lime based mortar had severely deteriorated in both the visible mortar joints and collar joints inside of the wall to the point where the mortar was like sand
  • Building façade plane continued to the neighboring property causing facades to separate from the party wall
  • The masonry shell was in such bad condition that project members expressed concerns over a possible collapse

Services and Solutions:

  • Masonry Solutions first thoroughly evaluated the facades at 43 MacDougal using Non-destructive evaluation to determine a safe method of intervention and uncover detailed information on its current condition
  • Masonry Solutions laboratory engineers then determined a compatible injection material that was sympathetic to the host’s particular characteristics
  • Façade walls were partially shored to prevent any movement and two entire facades were injected using low pressure Injection
  • This injection project presented a number of challenges, including the creation of an isolation barrier that would keep injection material from flowing into non-prescribed neighboring areas
  • CIF Injection took place from the building interior with extremely loose masonry requiring a high degree of precaution
  • Next, MSI technicians carefully drilled 4-5ft through the facades and embedded stainless Gruenstark fabric anchors into the party walls to firmly secure the façade to the rest of the building.
  • Further NDE demonstrated the solidity of the masonry units, thus confirming stabilization of 43 MacDougal’s facades
  • The neighboring community and preservation advocates everywhere could breathe a sigh of relief knowing this valuable piece of history was now in stable condition