PROJECT OF THE YEAR: REPAIR & REHABILITATION
Owner – Sage Hospitality Resources, Denver, CO
Architect – Lucien LaGrange Architects, Chicago
Exterior Façade Consultant – Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Chicago
General Contractor – James McHugh Construction Co., Chicago
Masonry Contractor – Mark 1 Restoration Co., Dolton, IL
The historic Blackstone Hotel, built in 1910 and designed by Marshall & Fox Architects, is listed as a Chicago landmark and is also on the National Register of Historic Places. In recent decades the original ornate brick and terra cotta of the 23-story neoclassical Beaux-Arts façade has fallen into disrepair, but in 2005 new owners initiated a comprehensive restoration project of the building.
The restoration of the exterior masonry façade included cleaning of the masonry surfaces to remove years of dirt accumulation; repointing of all mortar joints on the building to protect against water penetration into the masonry walls; replacement of approximately 2000 cracked and deteriorated terra cotta units with new terra cotta; salvage and repair of thousands of existing terra cotta units and reinstallation with new non-corrosive anchors; and rebuilding of large areas of distressed brick masonry.
In particular, the building corners and the spandrel beams at the upper floors of the building were stripped of existing masonry to expose and repair the steel framing of a century’s worth of corrosion and then the masonry (much of which was carefully salvaged) was reinstalled. Where new brick and terra cotta were needed, care was taken to provide quality materials that closely matched the appearance and color of the original masonry.
The interior of the building was also restored with equal care and attention to detail that was used on the exterior façade, and the Blackstone Hotel has awakened to a renewed beauty and grandeur.