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Historic Resources Committee Meeting Notes for June 14, 2012

Present: Bill Barry, David Bliss, Adrienne Cali, Jean Carroon, Gregory Colling, Lori Ferriss, Jack Glassman, Meghan Hanrahan, Susan Hollister, James Loftus, Doug Manley, Deborah Robinson, Malcolm Smiley, Jonathan Smith, Michael Steinitz, Scott Winkler, Gary Wolf 1. Filene’s Site Update: Jack encouraged the group to peruse the Boston Globe archives (or ferret through the recycle pile) to see the Tuesday, June 12, 2012 article featuring the latest proposal for the former Filene’s site. Jack noted the writer’s description of a proposed 606-foot, glass tower promised to be a “simultaneous and harmonious pairing of new and old.” The group expressed skepticism about the anticipated 2014 completion date. 2. Endangered Structures: A brief discussion was held regarding local endangered structures, including the Atlantic Works Boiler Shop (New Street, East Boston), which received a demolition delay via a June 12th hearing, and the Malcolm X - Ella Little-Collins House (Dale Street, Roxbury), a Boston Landmark just named to the National Trust’s list of 11 most endangered sites. Michael Steinitz offered additional update and background of the Malcolm X House, which the Little family hopes to preserve as an educational use. The property is soon to be the focus of an Historic Boston Inc. restoration. Shame on UMASS Amherst for the unauthorized demolition of the 1911 trolley station, prior to the end of the demolition delay period. The College reportedly proclaimed that the estimated $200,000 to relocate the building was not affordable, within the $85 million budget for their new academic complex. 3. Senate Bill S.2053 Update: “GOV 119,” the separate budget item characterized as a “tweak” that would have gutted the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s role in protecting historic resources, was fortunately withdrawn. Jack Glassman and a few others have been invited to attend a BSA- and AIA/Mass.-hosted strategy session on June 18th that will consider broadly MHC’s role in real estate development projects. 4. MIT Main Group Window Wall Restoration Study Project: The featured presenter for the June 2012 meeting was Gary Tondorf-Dick, a program manager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Entitled “Mock-Down, Mock-Up: Planning in Situ,” the fascinating and engaging talk was a well-documented case study of the collaborative effort by the MIT design team, the construction manager (Shawmut Design and Construction) and consulting specialists to develop a comprehensive restoration approach to the Main Group Buildings on the MIT campus. The Main Group Buildings were originally conceived by John Ripley Freeman in 1912, in a master plan for the Institute. An industrial building designer, Freeman planned to address four major considerations based on successful facilities designed for industrial production: an abundance of natural light, natural ventilation, avoidance of lost motion, and a psychology of student life. The conceptual “Design for a New Technology” was later brought to fruition under the design direction of William Welles Bosworth during the period of 1914-16. As the building envelope constructed in this era began to suffer from problems of deferred maintenance and materials reaching the end of their service life, Mr. Tondorf-Dick’s group was confronted with the task of developing a restoration program that focused on the steel windows, the 20” thick Indiana limestone barrier wall exterior and its connection to the structural frame. Following a “build it the way it was built” directive, the program objectives were: a. Minimum intervention b. Maximum retention of historic fabric c. Integrated window and wall restoration d. Improved energy performance: - Mitigating connective, conductive and radiation losses - Re-establishing and improving operability - Evaluating Code compliance Adding to the challenge was the fact that existing fasteners were sealed in the composite wall system and that the existing 1,600-foot long classical façade has no control joints other than conventional mortar joints, and no flashing! After thorough study of the original drawings to understand the systems, the team focused its efforts on dismantling a typical exterior bay of the building to specifically identify the problems that could be addressed in a restoration program. A 500-year life cycle was established for the building as a whole, with shorter life cycles for various components. Masonry issues that were discovered and addressed included cracking of stones due to hard Portland cement mortars, rust-jacking from the corrosion of ferrous anchors and stone migration at the parapets, due to water infiltration at upward-facing masonry joints. These problems were corrected in the mock-ups by careful cutting and repointing of masonry with a lime mortar, replacement of corroded ties and support angles, Dutchman repairs using harvested stones and replacements with matching Indiana limestone. Upward-facing mortar joints were finished with T-shaped lead weathercaps. The team’s goals for the building’s original steel window system were to fully understand the design and construction and then to find an optimal balance of durability, performance, and sustainability, all the while preserving Bosworth’s design intent of maximizing natural light and ventilation. Deficiencies of this early example of a curtain wall included the inefficiency of single glazing, corrosion of sash and attachment clips preventing operation (and, in fact, forcing some windows to remain in a slightly open position) and detailing that allowed glazing to be replaced from the exterior, along with inherent weather-tightness problems. Spandrel glass had been created by coating the backside of the glass an asphaltic coating on foil. A construction error resulted ion placement of the windows 2” proud of the masonry, with the stops facing out. Rust-jacking was pushing up portions of the assembly, crushing and spalling the adjacent stone. The team developed a full BIM model and created an illustrated handbook, detailing steps for repair. The manual includes details for the original hot-rolled parts. John Spieweik applied his knowledge of Chicago’s early curtain wall buildings and, in particular, effects of the “lime cycle.” A series of moisture sensors was installed, and it was observed that the dew point remained within the stone year-round. Replacement stone and Dutchman repairs required a true spirit of craftsmanship, as the original face of stone was offset as much as 3” and numerous scribing and cutting in the field was needed. The original window system was known as the “MIT Window” and was manufactured by a Chicago company that subsequently went bankrupt. The team worked to design a replacement window, and after Hope’s and Crittall expressed no interest in retooling standard lines, Torrance Steel Windows of California agreed to custom-fabricate steel units. The new awning window prototype of hot-dipped galvanized steel with 3-coat Tnemec coating features 5/16” vacuum glass in a elegant 3/8” setting bed with counter-balance pulleys, true divided lights, operable interior storm windows and screens, and is designed to be tied to the structural system, rather than the stone faces. Thermal resistance of the new system tested at an R-value of nearly 5. All original cast bronze hardware will be restored. Of particular note: ownership of the replacement window system design remains with MIT; the fabricator owns the dies; the extruders and rollers are jointly owned. MIT holds the patent developed by Bosworth and refined by Gary’s team. The AIA CM form of agreement was used as a basis, but the iterative process required rewriting contracts. The team welcomed the input of the Cambridge Historical Commission throughout the mock-down, mock-up process, and has now developed a well-explored methodology and strategy for the Institute’s ongoing restoration program. Ongoing concerns include the prescriptive requirements of the Energy Code and the substantial costs that would be associated with bringing the parapets into compliance with wind and seismic provisions of the 8th edition. Gary graciously shares the lessons learned with facilities planners and architects, and we all look forward to reading a future Preservation Brief of his excellent work. 5. Other Business and Announcements Congratulations to the Faneuil Hall Visitor Center team, which included Boston-area firms EYP, wondercabinet, Proun Design and Mystic Scenic Studios. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Hayden Building renovations on June 4, and the new Boston Youth Hostel grand opening celebration and open house is upcoming. Next Meeting 8 a.m., Thursday, July 12, 2012 featuring Making Cents of Historic Tax Credits by Maureen Cavanaugh and Taya Dixon, Epsilon Associates