Category: Historic Restoration
Location: Houston, TX
Size: 280,000 sq. ft.
Masonry Used: 1,800 new terra cotta, 90,000 interior bricks, 50,000 exterior, 461 new granite units, and 12 new precast units.

  • Submitted by: United Restoration & Preservation

    Project Description

    This project is unique in its construction do to the fact that it is a 100% masonry building from the interior structural wall to the exterior wall facade. The interior walls are made up of four to six Wyeth solid brick walls that are covered with a granite and ornamental plaster. The exterior facade is construction of brick, granite, lime stone, terra cotta, and structural precast. A complete restoration and preservation was performed and completed on the interior and exterior of this project.

    A complete restoration was performed on all the terra cotta which consisted of rebuilding balusters and handrails that were demolished in the 1950's, replacement of damaged units, patching and glazing existing units. Some of the unique challenges that were presented in this scope were the detailing of the ornamental terra cotta units that featured; eagles, lion heads, and queens with crowns that had damaged components such as several eagles beaks were missing and the queen's crown were severely damaged. These items were hand carved using a Jahns repair mortar to match the existing detailing. There was also 1800 damaged piece of terra cotta that was remove and replaced with new units. The existing limestone roof coping was not part of the original 1910 design; therefore, it was replaced with terra cotta units as per the original design.

    The granite restoration consisted of the four building entrances. On the north and south elevations the entrances were in place, and in need of a complete rehabilitation. The rehabilitation consisted of dismantling of the complete entrance structure. Each granite unit was identified and labeled to it exact location, and hauled off site to where they were stored and repaired. The structural support was removed and placed with new poured in place concrete support system. Then the units were transported back to site and the entrances were rebuilt to the exact original entrance. The east and west entrances were demolished in the 1950's. The entrances were reconstructed with new granite and concrete structural support to match the original 1910 design.

    The remaining exterior repairs consisted of demoing and replacing the pre-cast columns at the top of the dome structure. Also there was over 50,000 brick replaced on the exterior facade of the building. There was approximately 25 percent of the brick facade, and 100 percent of terra cotta was re-point to match existing. There was new Indiana limestone light bases installed. There were numerous repairs, patches, pining, and crack injections in the different types on masonry units. Once all masonry work was completed 100 percent of the exterior facade cleaned.

    This project presented many difficult obstacles to overcome. From being in the middle of downtown Houston to staging and accessing the facade of the building; also, from matching the new masonry units to the existing units. Through the dedication of the design and construction team we were able to overcome all the obstacles and produce a finished product that Harris county and the State of Texas were overwhelmed with.

    Project Participants

    Owner: Peter McDaniels, Harris County

  • Architect/Desinger: Ruben Mertinez, PGAL Architects
  • Structural Engineer: Ray Draxler, Walter P.Moore
  • General Contractor: Sean Douget, Vaughn Construction
  • Masonry Contractor: David Parks, United Restoration & Preservation
  • Masonry Supplier: Mike Moraes, Gladding McBean
  • Masonry Supplier: Robert Byrne, Architectural Masonry Product
  • Masonry Supplier: Jason Frank, Cold Spring Granite
  • Other: Wong & Associates, INC
  • Other: Susan Frocheur, Architexas
  • Other: Hector Faccuseh, Oldcastle Precast
  • Other: Mark Cowan, Texas Historical Commission