ICRI 2012 Project Award Winner
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Award of Merit: Masonry Category

Brick Masonry Restoration at Nicollet Towers
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Minneapolis, Minnesota

Submitted by Buildings Consulting Group, Inc.

Nicollet Towers

Volunteers of America—Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

Project Engineer/

Buildings Consulting 
Group, Inc.
Minneapolis, MN

Repair Contractor
Kraus-Anderson Construction Company
Minneapolis, MN

Material Suppliers/

Northland Masonry
St. Paul, MN

Acme Tuckpointing and Restoration
Minneapolis, MN

The Nicollet Towers buildings and plaza consist of two high-rise residential buildings with adjacent parking and townhome structures. The facility, built in 1977, fits a circular site, with the ring of four buildings surrounding the circular, central plaza. The buildings are clad with utility brick, supported by continuous steel shelf angles mounted to post-tensioned concrete floor slabs. By 2007, 40 years after the Nicollet Towers were built, the facility was showing its age.

A detailed condition study found the walls in poor condition, with widespread defects found in all the high-rise and low-rise buildings. These problems were typical of 1970s-era wall construction and included water leakage contributing to interior water damage, corrosion of steel shelf angles, corrosion of metal wall studs, deterioration of wood studs, and deterioration of the gypsum-based sheathing. A combination of recladding and spot repair was selected to restore the buildings. Globally, all of the continuous shelf angles were reflashed. Recladding was the best option for the long curved walls of the two high-rise towers, which had most of the window openings. All the windows on the residential floors were replaced, giving the opportunity to properly flash and protect all window openings. Complicating the project was the need to get all work finished in less than 1 year. Due to the Minnesota weather, this meant all masonry work needed to be completed in about 6 months, before the onset of winter weather.

Restoration started in March 2011. The masonry and plaza restoration work was completed in November 2011, on time and on budget. These restoration repairs extended the life of the Nicollet Towers for a few more decades and provided an updated, comfortable home for its tenants. 

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