The Powerhouse Workshop To Set Up Shop in Former Brooklyn Rapid Transit Central Power Station

Vertical Access is exited to see The Powerhouse Workshop project moving forward. We had the pleasure of assisting Roux Associates and Silman with the structural characterization and investigation of roof framing components as part of their site investigations.

The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Central Power Station was constructed in 1902 to supply electricity to the newly consolidated local steam railroad, elevated railroad and street car system.

Designed in the Romanesque Revival style by Thomas E. Murray, the BRT Powerhouse consisted of two parts. The extant south building housed the dynamo and engines, and the Boiler House, which contained the furnaces and coal storage. The Powerhouse was decommissioned and the boiler house demolished in the 1950s.

The powerhouse structure is comprised of built up steel lattice columns with infill brick walls. The roof structure is framed by primary modified Raised Toe trusses that span the space and are supported at the steel columns. Two secondary lateral trusses brace the primary trusses at the approximate third points.

Read the New York Times story here: http://nyti.ms/2mJrOLX
For more on the Powerhouse Workshop: http://www.powerhousearts.org/

Vertical Access Sponsors Architectural Paint Research Conference

 

Organizers of the 6th International Architectural Paint Research (APR) Conference are delighted to announce that Vertical Access has signed on as a sponsor of this year’s gathering. “This conference is a much-anticipated opportunity for professionals and academics to learn from each other and work together to protect and restore irreplaceable historic and cultural artifacts. Vertical Access’ support of this effort is critical to our success,” stated Conference Co-Chairs Mary Jablonski of Jablonski Building Conservation, Inc. and Kirsten Moffitt of Colonial Williamsburg.

The International Architectural Paint Research (APR) Conference will be held from March 15-17, 2017 in New York City on the historic campus of Columbia University. APR is a multi-disciplinary field, and this conference promises to bring together members of this vibrant, international community who include historic paint analysts, scholars, curators, art conservators, materials scientists, decorative painters, preservation architects, heritage managers, contractors, suppliers, preservationists, students, historians, and designers.

For more on the conference: http://www.apr2017.org/

 

Scaffold Law Reform Day at the Capital was a SUCCESS!

Evan Kopelson returned from the Scaffold Law Reform Day at the Capital with good news: new legislation has been introduced by Assemblymember John McDonald aimed at modernizing the liability rules under the state’s Scaffold Law. If passed, this fix to New York’s arcane law will go into effect January 1, 2018.

Advocates for reform gathered at the state capitol to urge legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo to fix this only-in-New York Scaffold Law, and highlight the law’s impact on taxpayers and local governments.

As part of the day’s events, Assemblymember McDonald announced the bill he has sponsored that will provide significant saving for local governments and help keep New York insurance premiums in line with other states while keeping the law’s safety provisions intact.

https://lrany.org/2017/02/16/albany-assemblymember-introduces-bill-to-fix-new-yorks-arcane-scaffold-law/

To view the bill: http://scaffoldlaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/A5624-McDonald-Bill-Text.pdf

For  more on the Scaffold Law Reform efforts: http://scaffoldlaw.org/

Welcome Erin Bullard!

erin3We’re excited to have Erin Bullard join the firm as Director of Marketing and Business Development supporting our Vertical Access, Alta Access, and TPAS services. Erin brings 10 years of experience in the A/E/C industry. Armed with a BS in Physics she sought work in engineering firms but realized marketing is more fun so she earned a BA in Creative Writing Arts and headed to the creative side. Always inquisitive, the science background has come in handy in the A/E/C industry and though she’s afraid of heights, Erin’s pretty excited to join our team.

Scaffold Law Lobby Day 2017

scaffold-law-reform-logo-2017On Tuesday, February 14th, advocates from across New York will meet at the State Capitol in Albany to urge elected officials to reform the antiquated Labor Law Sections 240/241. Evan Kopelson will be attending to show his support for scaffold reform. Here are the facts.

This law, first enacted in the 19th century and sometimes referred to as the Scaffold Law, is the only law of its kind in the country that imposes absolute liability on owners and contractors, without regard to cause and with virtually no opportunity for defense as part of a due process procedure.  This has had a huge economic impact on construction costs, ultimately costing New York taxpayers an estimated $785 million annually, and making some businesses and projects uninsurable.

Join us in the fight. This is your chance to make your voice heard! Registration is free, and you may bring guests.   http://scaffoldlaw.org/scaffold-law-lobby-day-2017/

Mesa to Mountain: Preservation in the American West

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Registration is LIVE for Mesa to Mountain! Join us in Salt Lake City, Utah from March 23-25 for a symposium hosted by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology International. Vertical Access is a sponsor of Mesa to Mountain and founding principal Kent Diebolt is a co-chair of the local planning committee.

Salt Lake City is a crossroads of the American West and abounds with historic resources and projects that will be of interest to APT members from across the country. Mesa to Mountain will explore the rich history and unique preservation challenges of this region with a focus on western sites, materials, and conditions.

The symposium kicks off on Thursday, March 23 with a plenary address, “The Architectural History of Utah”, and reception at the historic Alta Club. Friday begins with a keynote addresses, “Paths, Pathogens, Ponies, and Wheels: How Trails Changed the Cultural Geography of America” and “Preserving the Traditional: The Limits of Traditional Skills as a Preservation Approach”. Friday continues with a full day of paper sessions following three tracks: Seismic Retrofit of Historic Buildings, Materials and Construction Techniques, and Cultural Heritage Management. On Saturday, three full-day field sessions will take participants to historic sites and preservation projects in the Salt Lake City area.

Click HERE for the full conference program.

APT is an approved provider of American Institute of Architects continuing education Learning Units (LUs). LUs will be available for paper sessions and tours.

Visit the symposium web page for more information.

 

Happy Upjohn, Cram, and LaFarge Day!

In the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church, December 16 is the feast day celebrating Richard Upjohn, Ralph Adams Cram, and John LaFarge for their contributions to church architecture.

Richard Upjohn (1802-1878) is credited with advancing the Gothic Revival style in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. He is among several architects of his era who produced vastly influential books of residential designs, which were copied from and adapted by builders across the country. Upjohn designed several dozen churches, primarily located in the eastern U.S.

Richard Upjohn buildings worked on by Vertical Access:

  • St. Peter’s Church, Albany, NY (1876)
  • Christ Church, Binghamton, NY (1855)
  • Grace Church, Utica, NY (1856)
  • Trinity Church, New York City (1846)
  • Trinity Church, Princeton, NJ (1870)
Upjohn's Trinity Church in Princeton, NJ

Upjohn’s Trinity Church in Princeton, NJ

December 16 is the birthday of Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942). Working primarily in the Gothic Revival style, Cram designed many churches, academic and public buildings over a career spanning 40 years. Cram contributed to the “Collegiate Gothic” movement through his designs for Princeton University in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Ralph Adams Cram buildings worked on by Vertical Access:

  • St. Thomas Church, New York City (1914)
  • Cleveland Tower (1913) and Princeton University Chapel (1928), Princeton University
  • Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City (ca. 1909)
  • Cadet Chapel (1910) and Thayer Hall (1911), United States Military Academy, West Point, NY
  • Park Avenue Christian Church, New York City (1911)
Cram's Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City

Cram’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City

John LaFarge (1835-1910) was a fine artist and writer who found success as a muralist and innovative stained glass designer. His murals and stained glass windows grace the interiors of churches and public buildings throughout the U.S. His son, Christopher Grant LaFarge, became an architect and produced the original Byzantine design for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, later redesigned in the Gothic Revival style by Ralph Adams Cram.

Buildings worked on by Vertical Access that feature works by John LaFarge:

  • Trinity Church, Boston, MA (1877) Interior murals and stained glass windows by LaFarge
  • St. Paul’s Chapel, Columbia University, New York City (1907) Stained glass windows by LaFarge
  • Cathedral of All Saints, Albany, NY (1888) Stained glass windows by LaFarge
The commission for Trinity Church, Boston launched La Farge's career as a muralist

The commission for Trinity Church, Boston launched La Farge’s career as a muralist

Mid-Continent Tower in Tulsa

Vertical Access was contracted to assist Stephen J. Kelley, Inc. and Heritage Architecture Studio LLC with the assessment of the exterior building materials on the Tower by performing a hands-on and close visual survey of the exterior façades using rope access.

The Mid-Continent Tower is comprised of two distinct buildings: the Cosden Building and the Tower Building. Constructed in 1917, the fifteen-story Cosden Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is an early concrete frame structure clad in cream-colored glazed terra cotta units. The Tower Building, constructed in 1984, is a thirty-six-story steel frame structure clad with a curtain wall of terra cotta/glass fiber reinforced concrete panels that mimics the design of the Cosden Building. It is cantilevered over the Cosden Building so that the two buildings appear to be one.

Photography by Stephen J. Kelley.

The Ruins of Chan Chan

by Kevin Dalton

On a recent trip to Peru I had the opportunity to visit some of the ruins at Chan Chan, located in La Libertad province around the city of Trujillo. Built around 1200, Chan Chan served as the capital of the Chimu Kingdom until falling to the Incas around 1480. The city covered 20 square km, was the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and a monumental example of earthen architecture. At its height Chan Chan is believed to have had a population of around 60,000 people.

Due to the consistency of the swells in nearby Huanchaco, I was preoccupied with surfing for most of my time in the Trujillo area and only visited the Tschudi Complex, a relatively small section of the Chimu city. In all the city consisted of 9 walled citadels, or palaces, so there are several more interesting sights worth visiting.

Preservation efforts at the Tschudi Complex, which is the only section of Chan Chan that has been partially restored, are ongoing. Most of the architectural details are modern recreations though there are a few originals that remain. Due to its geographic location on the northern coast of Peru the ruins are susceptible to erosion from the heavy rains brought on by the El Niño phenomenon so much of the Tschudi Complex is now covered by a protective roof structure, which I found to be interesting in its own way. Upon returning to Huanchaco I immediately recognized some of the same architectural motifs at the Instituto del Mar del Peru, Laboratorio Costero de Huanchaco.

Besides being an important cultural site I think that Chan Chan is also a powerful example of ecological construction. It’s interesting to see how a 500+ year old city constructed of locally sourced, earthen material slowly returns to it’s original form leaving almost no trace of it’s existence. Try to imagine what a modern city will look like 500+ years from now.

Learn more about Chan Chan on the UNESCO website.

Guastavino documentary “El Architecto de Nueva York” wins Cannes Corporate Media & TV Award

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Title screen shot from “El Architecto de Nueva York”

The biographical documentary, El Architecto de Nueva York,  was honored with a Golden Dolphin Award at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards on October 13, 2016. Directed by Eva Vizcarra and produced by RTVE/Endora Producciones, the film won in the category of History and Civilization.

The accomplished life of Rafael Guastavino, an architect born in Valencia, Spain is the focus of this documentary.  He emmigrated to the USA from Spain in 1881 and proceeded to design and build some of the most recognizable architectural gems of Manhattan – yet his name is still largely unrecognized.  This award-winning film is a celebration of his life and brings long overdue awareness and enlightenment about his contributions to the architecture in cities worldwide.

The Vertical Access Connection

Kent Diebolt and Berta de Miguel guide viewers through Grand Central Station. Screen shot from “El Architecto de Nueva York”.

Kent Diebolt, and Berta de Miguel of Vertical Access are studied in the history of Rafael Guastavino – his vault construction techniques and his many architectural structures throughout the United States. Both appear in the film guiding viewers through iconic examples of his work in New York City such as Grand Central Terminal, the Guastavino Oyster Bar, Ellis Island and more.  In 2013, Kent and Berta organized a hands-on tile vaulting construction workshop at the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Annual Conference.