Recent Research and Technical Innovations in Brownstone Conservation Symposium

This symposium was held May 13, 2006 at the Victoria Mansion in Portland Maine.

On May 13, over eighty architects, architectural conservators, contractors, craftspeople, and preservationists gathered in Portland, Maine, for a major symposium on brownstone conservation hosted by Victoria Mansion and supported by a grant from NCPTT. The Victoria Mansion Brownstone Symposium: Recent Research and Technical Innovations in Brownstone Conservation was intended to present significant new research on brownstone decay by leaders in the field and to highlight innovative techniques to conserve deteriorated brownstone that were developed for the recent landmark restoration of Victoria Mansion’s four-story tower.

Victoria Mansion (also known as the Morse-Libby Mansion, a National Historic Landmark) is an iconic example of the Italian Villa style designed by architect Henry Austin and built 1858-60. The house is built of Portland, CT, brownstone and has lavishly carved architectural detail. Like most brownstone buildings of its age, the Mansion’s survival is now threatened by the deterioration of the stone. The museum received a Save America’s Treasures Grant and a Getty Foundation Architectural Conservation Implementation Grant to undertake the first phase of restoration in 2004, which focused on the tower where the deterioration was most advanced. While much of the stone had to be replaced with new Portland brownstone, intensive efforts were made to save the deeply carved quoins, which necessitated the development of pioneering conservation techniques that had never been attempted on carved brownstone, including consolidation with B-72 and micro-pinning using ceramic pins and stainless steel bone screws.


Welcome and History of Preservation at Victoria Mansion
Robert Wolterstorff, Director, Victoria Mansion

Material, Intent, and the Aesthetics of Conservation
David Fixler, AIA, Principal, Einhorn Yaffee Prescott

Conservation of Carved Brownstone
Ivan Myjer, Principal, Building and monument Conservation, member of APT/Northeast Chapter

Question and Answer Session

Controlling Expansion of Portland Brownstone
Dr. George Scherer, Professor, Princeton University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Evaluation of Alkoxysilane Consolidants on Portland Brownstone
Dr. George Wheeler, Director of Conservation, Columbia University Historic Preservation Program

Question and Answer Session

Tour of the Tower Project
Led by Andrew Ladygo, president, Architectural Conservation Services

Micro-Pinning Techniques for the Repair of Brownstone at Victoria Mansion
John Glavan, Building Conservation Associates, New York

The Geology of Portland (CT) Brownstone, and Quarry Factors to Consider in Block/Slab Selection for In-Kind Replacement of Portland Brownstone
G. Michael Meehan, president, Portland Brownstone Quarries

Standards and Quality in Brownstone Fabrication: Challenges and Lessons Learned in the Fabrication of Replacement Brownstone on a National Historic Landmark Structure
Mathew Tonello, P.E., Project Executive, Consigli Construction Company

Roundtable Discussion
Including Practical Observations on applying the treatment program in a real-world setting, discussion of cost-benefit, and how far we go to save decaying stone