24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario. Photo Credit: Alasdair McLellan, Wikimedia Commons

24 Sussex Drive

Ottawa, Ontario (1868) The Building:The house at 24 Sussex Drive is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada during his or her term of office. The house has been renovated many times with unsympathetic alterations prevailing in most cases. The oldest part of the house dates from the 1830s. It is a national … Read more

Adams Building, Howard University, Washinton, D.C. (1927)

Adams Building, Howard University

Washington, D.C. (1927) The Building: The Howard University School of Medicine dates to 1868, just one year after the founding of the university. The framed buildings are the Seeley G. Mudd Building, opened in 1979, and the Dr. Numa Pompilius Garfield Adams Building, opened in 1927 and expanded in 1957. The new half of the Adams … Read more

Alexander Hamilton House (Hamilton Grange National Memorial), Upper Manhattan, New York, New York, USA. Photo Credit: US National Park Service

Alexander Hamilton House

Upper Manhattan, New York City (1804) The Building:National Historic Site and former residence of one of America’s founding fathers.  The Problem:The flat plaster was failing in the principal rooms. The Development of a New Product:Historic Plaster Conservation Services worked closely with Naomi Kroll, Senior Conservator for the National Park Service, to develop a new product … Read more

Annandale House Museum, Tilsonburg, Ontario. Photo Credit: Colincan, Wikimedia Commons

Annandale House Museum

Annandale House National Historic SiteTilsonburg, Ontario (1880) About the Building:With its magnificent interior, Annandale House serves as a monument to the Victorian style of design, known as the “Aesthetic Art Movement”. Popularized by Oscar Wilde, this movement promoted the use of colour and decorative detailing in all areas of the home. From extravagant, hand-painted ceilings … Read more

Capitol Theatre, Port Hope, Ontario. Photo Credit: Yoho2001, Wikimedia Commons

Capitol Theatre

Port Hope, Ontario (1930) The Building:One of Canada’s last remaining fully operational atmospheric theatres. An atmospheric theatre is one in which hidden mechanical projectors are used to enhance the audience experience of a specific atmosphere. The whole design intent from sidewalk to audience chamber is intended to enthrall the audience and simulate a particular atmosphere. … Read more

Castle Kilbride, Baden, Ontario. Photo Credit: Tudor Costache, Wikimedia Commons

Castle Kilbride

Baden, Ontario (1877) The Building: The castle is a restored Italianate villa with a large addition designed by architect C.A. Ventin, and converted to house municipal offices in Wilmot Township. Project Synopsis:Historic Plaster Conservation Services was responsible for determining the feasibility of improving the strength of a great deal of heavily decorated plaster, and for developing … Read more

Chateau Laurier Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario

Chateau Laurier Hotel

The Drawing Room, Chateau Laurier Hotel – Fairmont HotelsOttawa, Ontario (1912) The Building:A historic chateau now part of the Fairmont Hotel chain. This Bell Epoch chateau building was built at a time of evolving technology. Not quite fully non-combustible in its construction, the ornamental plaster in the grand rooms was the modern cast fibrous plaster … Read more

Colonial Building, St. John's, Newfoundland CANADA. Photo credit: Nilfanion, Wikimedia Commons

Colonial Building

St. John’s, Newfoundand (1850) The Building:A neoclassical structure, a provincial historic site and the home of the Newfoundland government and House of Assembly from 1850 to 1959. The building is being restored to become the future Museum of Newfoundland. Project Synopsis:As the plaster conservator on a multi-phased restoration project, Historic Plaster Conservation Services began its … Read more

Congregation Beth Elohim (also known as the Garfield Temple and the Eighth Avenue Temple), Brooklyn, New York, USA. Photo Credit: David Shankbone, Wikimedia Commons

Congregation Beth Elohim

Brooklyn, New York (1910) The Building: Congregation Beth Elohim, also known as the Garfield Temple and the Eighth Avenue Temple, is a Reform Jewish congregation located in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. In 1910, construction was completed on the new synagogue with a dome-capped sanctuary seating 1,500. The structure was designed and built by the … Read more

Egg crate-like panel is gently applied to fragile fresco

Contemporary Fresco Rescue

St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Charlotte, North Carolina (1893) The Building:St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Charlotte, North Carolina. How to Remove a Precious, Delaminated and Delicate Fresco from a WallSeismic shocks from a nearby underground construction project caused approximately 30% of a 1,540 square-foot contemporary fresco, painted by North Carolina artist Ben Long, to collapse. The fresco … Read more

Convocation Hall, University of Toronto. Photo Credit: Jphillips23, Wikimedia Commons

Convocation Hall, University of Toronto

Toronto, Ontario (1907) About the Building:One of Toronto’s premier concert and speaking venues, Convocation Hall is a domed rotunda and the centerpiece building on the grounds of the University of Toronto’s downtown campus. Designed by renowned architects, Frank Darling and John A. Pearson, the building was inspired by the grand theatre of the Sorbonne and the … Read more

Dominion Public Building (now the John Sopinka Courthouse), Hamilton, Ontario. Photo Credit: Whpq, Wikimedia Commons

Dominion Public Building

Hamilton, Ontario (1937) The Building:Post Office, Customs House and Federal Government edifice built as a works project during the Great Depression. Many such grand art deco buildings were built across Canada during that period. Project Synopsis:Floor to ceiling marble cladding designed to look like ashlar with mortar joints created using a contracting color of marble … Read more

Dundurn Castle, Hamilton, Ontario. Photo Credit: Nhl4hamilton (Rick Cordeiro), Wikimedia Commons

Dundurn Castle

Hamilton, Ontario (1835) The Building:A National Historic Site and Hamilton’s most famous landmark buildling. Project Synopsis:Although it appears to be constructed of ashlar, the walls of this 1830s Italianate Villa are actually brick covered in stucco. The building underwent a major exterior renovation in the mid 1990s. Working with Taylor Hazel Architects, HPCS and Craig … Read more

Elgin County Courthouse, St. Thomas, Ontario

Elgin County Courthouse

St. Thomas, Ontario (1853) The Building:The Elgin County Courthouse has been associated with the administration of justice in the County of Elgin for more than 150 years. One of the first of its kind, the courthouse is a prominent example of the combined courthouse, jail and county buildings erected by counties in many parts of … Read more

Felician College Iviswold Castle, Rutherford, New Jersey, USA

Felician College Iviswold Castle

Rutherford, New Jersey (1890) The Building:A Gilded Age mansion.  The Problem:Classic example of the detachment of plaster from the wood lath as evidenced by numerous broken keys & lugs, and the settlement of plaster away from the substrate. Project Synopsis:Historic Plaster Conservation Services (Canada) was asked to assess the ceiling (which featured valuable decorative painting … Read more

First Congregational Church of West Haven, West Haven, Connecticut. Photo Credit: Polaron, Wikimedia Commons

First Congregational Church of West Haven

West Haven, Connecticut (1859) The Building:First Congregational Church of West Haven was built on a place called “the Commons”, which denoted common ground for the use of the community. Over the years, the Church has had three separate sanctuary buildings. The first was built in 1719. The second was built in 1851 and burned to the … Read more

First United Methodist Church, Henderson, Kentucky, USA

First United Methodist Church

Henderson, Kentucky (1914) The Building: First United Methodist Church was constructed in 1914 as a rebuild of a church that was destroyed by a tornado. The Issue of Concern: In the summer of 2014, a seven-foot diameter area of plaster-on-wood-lath ceiling collapsed, almost injuring a group of visiting students. The collapse triggered a capital fundraising campaign for … Read more

Gage House (aka Battlefield Museum), Hamilton, Ontario. Photo courtesy Nhl4hamilton via Wikimedia Commons

Gage House

Hamilton, Ontario (1796) The building:Gage House (aka Battlefield Museum) was the homestead of the widow Mary Jones Gage and her two children, James and Elizabeth, who journeyed to the area from New York State in 1790. During the War of 1812, the Gage family was forced from the residence, which became the headquarters of the … Read more

Galilee Episcopal Church, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

Galilee Episcopal Church

Virginia Beach, Virginia (1956) The Building:Galilee Episcopal Church is an expansive red-bricked building and one of the most popular churches in Virginia Beach. Project Synopsis:HPCS USA was called in to inspect the plaster-on-wire-lath ceiling, the surface of which was experiencing serious cracking throughout. The inspection revealed that the ceiling was in precarious condition and it … Read more

George Street United Church, Peterborough, Ontario

George Street United Church

Peterborough, Ontario (1843) The Building:Closely resembles the Metropolitan Methodist Church in downtown Toronto. Both buildings were designed by architect Henry Langley. The formal opening took place on Christmas Day 1875. In 1891, a 40-foot church tower was completed with four large pinnacles at the corners and four smaller pinnacles in between. High on the tower … Read more

Glanmore National Historic Site

Glanmore National Historic Site

Belleville, Ontario (1883) The Building:A beautiful historic house museum.  Project Synopsis:Since 2008, Historic Plaster Conservation Services has been the plaster conservator for this beautiful historic-house museum featuring extensive decorated paint finishes. Our initial involvement was precipitated by an extra heavy load of snow breaking through the roof and causing the wood lath and plaster ceilings … Read more

Gould Memorial Library, Bronx, New York, USA

Gould Memorial Library

Bronx, New York (1899) The Building:National Historic Site designed by Stanford White. The Issue of Concern:There was serious concern for public safety after a cast plaster ornament (rosette) fell off the ceiling of the Guastovino tiled dome. In addition, the large cast plaster figures were severely damaged by vandalism during student demonstrations. Project Synopsis:Historic Plaster … Read more

Grace Church, New York City, New York, USA. Photo Credit: Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia Commons

Grace Church

New York City, New York (1846) The Building:Described as “one of the city’s greatest treasures”, Grace Church is a French Gothic masterpiece and a National Historic Landmark, designed by James Renwick Jr. Project Synopsis: Phase 1Historic Plaster Conservation Services was retained to conduct a structural assessment of the wood lath and plaster ceiling above this … Read more

Greater Newark Conservancy, Newark, New Jersey, USA

Greater Newark Conservancy

Newark, New Jersey (1882) The Building:The Greater Newark Conservancy is a non-profit organization headquartered in Newark, New Jersey with the stated goal of promoting “environmental stewardship to improve the quality of life in New Jersey’s urban communities.” It offers programs for youth education, community greening and gardening, nutritional health, job training, and prisoner re-entry. The … Read more

Keene United Church, Keene, Ontario

Keene United Church

Keene, Ontario (1833) The Building: A small brick church in a small country town. Project Synopsis:The ceiling was being damaged by seepage and bat guano that had accumulated and was still accumulating in the attic. A very significant cleaning program was initiated by HPCS with a large vacuum truck making relatively short work of the bulk … Read more

Library of Parilament, Ottawa, Ontario CANADA

Library of Parliament

Ottawa, Ontario (1876) The Building: One of Canada’s most spectacular buildings (it is on the Canadian ten dollar bill) is the hexadecagon (16 sided) Library of Parliament in the heart of the Parliamentary Precinct in Ottawa. The library survived a fire that completely destroyed the adjacent Parliament Buildings in 1916. Renovations after another minor fire that … Read more

Tenement Museum, Lower East Side, New York City, New York. USA. Photo credit: Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia Commons

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

New York City, New York (1863)Delicate Paint Finishes and Plaster on Wood Lath The Building:A popular museum that focuses on America’s urban immigrant history. Between 1863 and 1935, 7,000 tenants lived at this 97 Orchard Street address.  An Interesting Curatorial Mandate:The museum has an interesting and challenging curatorial mandate for rooms that are in a … Read more

Lyric Theatre, New York City, New York, USA

Lyric Theatre

New York City, New York (1903) The Building:The Lyric Theatre, previously known as the Foxwoods Theatre, the Hilton Theatre and the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts, was constructed in 1903 with the theatre installed in 1968. Project Synopsis:Prior to the opening of the $75 million Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” (the most … Read more

Metropolitan United Church, London, Ontario. Photo Credit: jofo2005, (CC BY-ND 2.0) Flickr.com

Metropolitan United Church

London, Ontario (1896) The Building:The largest United Church in Canada with seating for 1300 people The Solution:The church was undergoing a major sanctuary redecoration and updating of various mechanical systems under architect Bill Ruth of Tillman and Ruth Architects. HPCS developed and implemented a conservation and stabilization program for the vaulted plaster ceilings of the … Read more

New Brunswick Legislature, Fredericton, New Brunswick, CANADA. Photo Credit: Breau, Wikimedia Commons

New Brunswick Legislative Building

Fredericton, New Brunswick (1882) The Building:A Second Empire style structure, featuring a 125-foot-high dome tower, was built to replace the original building destroyed by fire in 1880. Project Synopsis:Historic Plaster Conservation Service was called to visit the site and make recommendations for a possible conservation strategy for the fragile wood lath and plaster ceiling of … Read more

New Victory Theater, New York City, New York, USA

New Victory Theater

New York, New York (1900) The Building: Built by Oscar Hammerstein I in 1900 and designed by architect Albert Westover, the theater opened as the Theater Republic on September 27, 1900 with Lionel Barrymore starring in James Heme’s play Sag Harbor. Over the years, the theater experienced a variety of incarnations and name changes. In 1994/95, it underwent an … Read more

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa, Ontario. Photo Credit: Jeangagnon, Wikimedia Commons

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Ottawa, Ontario (1847) The Building: a gothic inspired edifice and a National Historic Site of Canada. The cathedral is in the centre of Ottawa, which lies above a seismic activity fault line. Our assessment of attached plaster ornament in historic buildings in Ottawa is an especially important focus of our work there. The Wisdom of … Read more

Old City Hall, Toronto, Ontario CANADA

Old City Hall

Toronto, Ontario (1899) The Building:The Richardsonian Romanesque former City Hall is one of the largest buildings in Toronto and was the largest civic building in North America upon completion in 1899.  Consolidating Plaster from a Remote Location in 150 RoomsThe collapse of a section of office ceiling in 2006 precipitated an investigation by HPCS that … Read more

Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City, New York, USA. Photo Credit: Jim.henderson, Wikimedia Commons

Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral

New York City, New York (1868) The Building: Designed by the same architect who designed New York City Hall, Old St. Patrick’s was the first cathedral church for the Diocese of New York. Originally built in 1808, the church interior was destroyed by fire on October 6, 1866 and then rebuilt and re-opened on St. Patrick’s … Read more

Red Chamber, Province House, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA. Photo Credit: Louperivois, Wikimedia Commons

Red Chamber, Province House

Halifax, Nova Scotia (1818) The Building: The oldest legislature in Canada, featuring the Red Chamber room, which housed the Senate in pre-confederation days and is now used for royal visits and other ceremonial affairs of state. The Problem:The Adams style ceiling of the Red Chamber is festooned with applied plaster moldings thought to have been shipped … Read more

Saints Joseph and Michael Church, Union City, New Jersey, USA

Saints Joseph and Michael Church

Union City, New Jersey (1875) The Building: Construction of Saints Joseph and Michael Catholic Church on Central Avenue was completed in 1875. The building is a state and national historic place. On March 4, 2017, a fire started in an adjacent apartment building and quickly spread to the church. Project Synopsis: The church was badly damaged from … Read more

Second Church of Christ Scientist, New York City, New York, USA

Second Church of Christ Scientist

New York City, New York (1904) The Building:A monumental edifice on the northwest corner of Central Park West and 96th Street in Manhattan. The Problem:The deterioration of plaster encasing the huge glass skylight presented a potentially serious safety problem. The Solution:Mark Anderson, senior heritage architect with Façade MD, asked Historic Plaster Conservation Services to assess … Read more

Sir John A. Macdonald Building, formerly the Bank of Montreal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Sir John A. Macdonald Building

Formerly the Bank of Montreal, Ottawa, Ontario (1930) The Building:An example of Beaux-Arts architecture, reflecting several styles that have long been used to design Canadian banks. The building was shut down in 2005 to undergo a significant multi-phase rehabilitation project scheduled to be completed in 2015. TRI Funori™ – Ideal for Cleaning Delicate Paint:As the plaster … Read more

Sixth Street Community Synagogue, New York City, New York, USA

Sixth Street Community Synagogue

New York City, New York (1847) The Building: The Sixth Street Community Synagogue was originally the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Mark, built in a renaissance revival style in 1847. Much of the church membership was killed in the 1904 General Slocum steamboat disaster in which the boat caught fire on the East River and more than … Read more

Spadina House, Toronto, Ontario. Photo Credit: rhdouglas, Wikimedia Commons

Spadina House

Toronto, Ontario (1866) The Building:Former estate of a prominent Toronto family, the mansion was initially restored as a museum and civic reception centre in the late 1980′s. Project Synopsis: HPCS was responsible for the design and execution of the conservation plan for the exhibit areas in the five basement rooms, including the kitchen and staff quarters. … Read more

St. Agnes Church, Reading, Massachusetts, USA

St Agnes Church

Reading, Massachusetts (1887) The Building:The need for a church in the Reading area was made evident by the experience of Rev. Thomas H. Shahan. On his way to visit relatives in Melrose, he had an hour lay-over at the train station in South Reading (Wakefield). When some of the Catholics of the area learned of … Read more

St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA

St. Aloysius Catholic Church

Jersey City, New Jersey (1908) The Building: Designed by architect Charles Edward, St. Aloysius is a granite French Renaissance style church and bell tower that can accommodate nearly 1000 persons. Project Synopsis: An assessment of the 14,000 square foot plaster-on-wood-lath ceiling revealed that the plaster had lost a significant amount of its structural integrity in relation to … Read more

St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church, Brooklyn, New York, USA. Photo Credit: Jim.henderson, Wikimedia Commons

St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church

Brooklyn, New York (1847) The Building: A historic Episcopal church in Brooklyn Heights designed by prominent 19th century architect Minard Lafever. The stained glass windows, designed by William Jay Bolton and John Bolton, are the first complete canon, or set, of figural stained glass windows made in North America. The Bolton windows consist of six distinct … Read more

St. Ann School, Bronx, New York, USA

St. Ann School

Bronx, New York (1950) To Remove or not to Remove? That was the Question.Widespread delimination of the gypsum plaster skim coat from the cast concrete ceiling presented a safety problem in this school built in the 1950s. Two remedial options were considered: 1. Scrape off the existing plaster and then re-plaster; or 2. Re-adhere the … Read more

St. Brigid's Church, New York City, New York, USA

St. Brigid’s Church

New York City, New York (1948) Restoration in the Nick of TimeThis elegant and brilliantly designed church with a ceiling that looks like the hull of a ship was closed and abandoned in 2001 when a crack in the east wall became irreparable. As demolition crews arrived and began smashing the antique stained glass windows, … Read more

St. Gabriel's Monastery, Brighton, Massachusetts

St. Gabriel’s Monastery

Brighton, Massachussets (1929) The Building: St. Gabriel’s Monastery, built in the Mission style in 1909, is a Boston Landmark, surrounded by historic structures and landscape features. The entire 11.6-acre site had been abandoned for about 30 years until 2016 when Cabot, Cabot, and Forbes proposed a bold redevelopment, which includes the construction of four new residential … Read more

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