Award of Merit: Historic Category
Restoration of the Ca'd'Zan Mansion
Submitted by Schnell Contractors, Inc.
Florida State University
Manausa Lewis & Dodson
Schnell Contractors, Inc.
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
The Ca’d’Zan Mansion, John and Mabel Ringling’s Venetian Gothic mansion, is one of America’s important historic houses. Renowned architect Dwight James Baum of New York supervised the actual construction.
The concrete foundation wall, which supports the mansion, as well as the exterior 8000 square ft of terrace that overlooks Sarasota Bay, was beginning to show evidence of concrete deterioration. Immediately above this wall was the 1-1/2 story main living room. The support columns between the ornate European doors were finished with stucco on the exterior and encased with onyx marble on the interior side, and cracking could be seen within these concrete support columns on the stucco side. The cracking problem was caused by the oxidation of the existing reinforcing steel within the columns and possibly within the cast concrete arches over the windows. Some of the cracking was also determined to be the result of the weakening of the foundation wall below.
Due to the historical significance of this 1925-1926 mansion, performing these structural repairs was going to require significant preplanning not only to perform the repairs but to maintain the day to day operations of this tourist attraction. The work, structural in nature, also required the need to remove significant historic features which covered the structural elements. These included removal of the European tinted glass doors valued at an estimated $250K each, removal of the 1925 imported onyx marble, and the strategic hand removal of custom terra cotta column capitols and archway pieces.
The repairs had to be done during the occupancy of the structure. Logistical problems such as pedestrian protection and access to the repair all become major decisions that affected the profitability of the project. Combined with adhering to the above details, the delicacy and cost of replicating the historic materials made this a uniquely challenging project.