This talk is part of the Fountain Fundamentals Conference held July 10-11, 2013, Kansas City, MO.
Restoration of Rockefeller’s Italian Fountain by Ricardo Viera and Michele Boyd
Carved from light-colored limestone and granite to the designs of sculptor Biagio Catella for thenorthern Italian city of Como in 1872, the Rockefeller Fountain is so named because William Rockefeller (1841–1922) gave it to the City of New York in 1903. In 1968, just three years after the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission was formed to protect the City’s architectural and aesthetic heritage, the fountain was designated an individual landmark, subjecting it to the protections and regulations afforded to locally designated properties.
The fountain now stands at a main entrance to the Bronx Zoo in New York City. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), stewards of the Bronx Zoo, commissioned BCA to perform a comprehensive conditions assessment and prepare restoration documents. The fountain was fully restored in 2007–8.
The Rockefeller Fountain presented a conservation challenge in its range of materials—limestone, granite, fieldstone, cementitious basin, cast iron, and brick—and in its degree of deterioration. Our presentation will present a history and description of the fountain and its significance and focus on the investigative methods, particularly laboratory analysis and field tests, used to determine conditions, as well as the masonry treatments used for loss of detail, delamination, crack repair, spalled and cracked stone, mortar loss, deteriorated parging, biogrowth, soiling, and metal corrosion. In addition, we will describe repairs and upgrades to the plumbing, drainage, and lighting systems.
Ricardo Viera, Associate Director, has been with BCA since 1990 and has performed and overseen numerous conservation and historic preservation consulting projects. He specializes in the restoration of building materials, with particular expertise in terra cotta restoration. Mr. Viera holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Historic Preservation and a master’s of Architecture from the University of Florida.
Michele Boyd, Associate, joined BCA’s preservation department in 2002. Michele is an architectural historian and preservationist. She completed her M.S. in historic preservation at Columbia University. Her recent experience includes development of comprehensive preservation plans and historic structure reports for the 19th and early 20th century buildings on the campus of the Newark Museum. Her work at BCA is centered on conducting archival research and developing architectural histories and significance studies, documenting existing conditions, and conducting restoration design review for compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.