Category: Institutional
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Size: 105000 sq. ft.
Masonry Used: Total brick area: 12,950 sq ft Total masonry area: 2,700 sq ft Total CMU area: too many to count.
Submitted by: VSBA, LLC

Project Description

In 500 words or less, explain the project and its unique use of masonry materials and techniques. : Creative use of masonry enables Lenfest Hall to respond to the scale and character of its historic streetscape. The four-story Locust Street facade is clad in 4”-thick brown sandstone with limestone and granite accents, carefully detailed and expertly crafted to be at home among 19th century townhouses. Yet the facade concurrently promotes the new 21st century identity of the expanded institution with large scale windows and a carved sandstone frieze giving the building civic presence.

Richly carved historic facades to either side of new facade were restored and incorporated into the design, preserving the street's historic fabric and maintaining its character. Masons and builders employed a combination of machine and hand carving techniques. Lost elements of the historic facades, including the tripartite arched window and the second floor cornice and balustrade, were recreated despite little existing information. 3-D laser imaging of existing ornamentation provided templates for hand carving the recreated window. The frieze and reveals of the new facade were machine carved. Our architects worked closely with the masons and carvers during the fabrication and installation process to insure that the high level of detail was realized.

Lenfest Hall's residential portion, extending an additional five stories, is set back to be minimally visible from Locust Street. On the building's Latimer Street side, red brick is used to extend the 3-story residential scale of the block, while beige brick on the residential tower above blends into other tall towers nearby and reflects sunlight down into the narrow street.

Traditional masonry materials were combined with highly technical wall systems to meet stringent acoustic and moisture resistance requirements. A conventional cavity wall assembly provided needed mass but was supplemented by an insulated interior wall -- both supported by, but isolated from, a steel frame. Custom vapor tight, double window assemblies were isolated from both walls. An exterior brick panel system along Latimer Street and the set-back portion of the Locust Street facade allowed the construction schedule to be significantly compressed and facilitated installation at the tight urban site. The panel system also used a custom designed air and vapor barrier for enhanced performance. Throughout the interior, solid CMU walls -- isolated from the building's structure with resilient pads, along with drywall partitions -- were used to separate acoustically significant spaces.

Successful collaboration between the design team and the masonry contractors, stone carvers, and suppliers was essential to the successful outcome of the project.

Project Participants

Architect / Designer's Name: Daniel McCoubrey
Company: Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, Inc.
Phone: (215) 487-0400

Structural Engineer' s Name: Dean Doukakis
Company: Heast and Hood Co.
Phone: (215) 625-0099

General Contractor's Name: Phil Moses
Company: Intech Construction, Inc.
Phone: (215) 243-2000

Masonry Contractor's Name: Steve Allen
Company: AB&S Masonry Corp.
Phone: (215) 379-4320

Masonry Supplier's Name: Steve Ensor
Company: Quarra Stone Company
Phone: (608) 246-8803

Masonry Supplier
Company: Cold Spring Granite
Phone: (800) 551-7502

Masonry Supplier
Company: Fizzano Brothers
Phone: (610) 833-1100

Landscape Architect
Name: George Folkman
Company: Joseph Dugan, Inc.
Phone: (215) 233-2150

Name: Rob Wentz
Company: Eastern Exterior Wall Systems
Phone: (215) 672-6378