Award of Merit: Masonry Category
Restoration of 215 East 68th Street
New York, New York
Submitted by Sika Corporation
Rudin Management Company
New York, NY
Forst Consulting and Architecture
New York, NY
Brisk Waterproofing Company
215 East 68th Street is a large, 608-unit residential building with sprawling views of the City and Central Park. As with most buildings of the 1960s era, the structure was constructed with cast-in-place, reinforced concrete, concrete block backup walls, and exterior glazed clay brick veneer/façade.
Over the years, the exterior glazed clay brick façade showed signs of weathering and degradation. In 2006, an exterior façade inspection found serious brick displacement in the form of bulging and cracking, which was creating a potentially unsafe façade condition.
A design and evaluation process narrowed the repair design down to a new terra cotta rain screen system. Mockups were used to assess the quality and feasibility of the options being considered. Testing was done to confirm strength and durability of the different systems. It was determined that the terra cotta rain screen system would require less long-term maintenance than a conventional brick façade.
The new terra cotta cladding system involved the placement of vertical structural supports bolted to the block backup wall. Once the vertical supports were installed, a vapor permeable membrane was installed, followed by insulation, and finally the placement of the terra cotta rain screen panels.
While the replacement terra cotta was a major part of the renovation that started in August 2010, the scope of the project was much greater and included the reconstruction of the parapet walls, reroofing the building, and repairing the balconies from top to bottom. Because the building was over an underground parking garage and surrounded on three sides by a landscaped plaza, a plan was developed to provide site logistics for scaffolding, hoists, and workers. In the fall of 2012, once the aftermath of Hurricane Irene had been dealt with, the terra cotta portion of the project was completed.