Laboratory and Field Tests Determine How to Restore a 1903 School’s Facade

PS 183, Metamorphosis Awards, Nelligan White Architects

PS183 Manhattan is a 5-story building encompassing 49,000 square feet. The school was built in 1903 and currently serves more than 500 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

As part of the investigatory work for this project, New York-based Nelligan White Architects PLLC carefully observed, recorded, and mapped exterior and interior damage at the school. Exterior and interior exploratory probes and spray tests were conducted. Laboratory testing of face brick, face-brick mortar, backup brick and backup-brick mortar for compressive strength, absorption, and chemical composition was requested. Based on the firm’s findings, the team repaired and replaced bastion caps, parapets, face brick, and terra-cotta elements running from the top of the windows of the fourth floor and continuing to the top level.

PHOTOS: (c) Nelligan White Architects PLLC/Sylvia Hardy

The preservation goals for this project included the removal of alterations that had occurred during the course of the building’s history, which have changed the historic character of the property. Nelligan White Architects recommended the restoration of the structural and watertight integrity of the building enclosure, particularly the street façade, parapets and roof.

Because the original distinctive features had been removed or altered, replacement of missing features was substantiated by documentary, physical or pictorial evidence. All considerations were in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Retrofit Team

ARCHITECT: Nelligan White Architects PLLC, New York

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Gilsanz Murray Steficek, New York

MEP ENGINEER: Clifford Dias Consulting Engineers, New York

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: LoSardo General Contractors Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.



WINDOWS AND ACCESSORIES: Graham Architectural Products


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