The Blackstone Hotel, built in 1910 and designed by Marshall & Fox Architects, is a Chicago landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In recent decades, the ornate brick and terra cotta of its 23-story neoclassical Beaux-Arts façade had fallen into disrepair. Its new owners started a comprehensive restoration project in 2005.
To restore the masonry façade, masons removed years of accumulated dirt and repointed all mortar joints to protect against water penetration. They replaced about 2000 cracked and deteriorated terra cotta units. And where possible, masons salvaged and repaired thousands of existing terra cotta units and reinstalled them with non-corrosive anchors.
The masons also rebuilt large areas of distressed brick masonry. They stripped existing masonry from the building's corners and spandrel beams at the upper floors to expose and repair the steel framing after a century of corrosion. The team then reinstalled the masonry, much of which they carefully salvaged. Where new brick and terra cotta were needed, masons took care to use materials that closely matched the original appearance and color.
Inside, masons worked with equal care and attention to detail, bringing the Blackstone Hotel renewed beauty and grandeur.