Fading Lustre: Investigation and Remediation of the Golden Roof and Lantern atop the NY Life Headquarters in New York City...
Designed by Cass Gilbert <ul><li>Opened in 1928 the building featured 35 occupied  floors with a crenellated masonry roof....
Leaks were always a problem. Roof was re-designed in 1967 <ul><li>35 th   floor was removed. </li></ul><ul><li>22,000 enam...
After four years the gold glaze on the new tiles showed signs of failure. <ul><li>While the tiles are initially fired at o...
Observations in situ Note the relationship between the areas of least gold and the wash patterns of the rain.
Potential  Avenues of Failure <ul><li>Note crazing in gold glaze.  </li></ul>Uneven application of the glaze.
Investigation and Testing <ul><li>Various approaches were explored 1. New gold tiles – Manufacturer no longer offered them...
Accelerated Weathering to ASTM standards and more <ul><li>QUV Ultraviolet and Freeze Thaw. </li></ul><ul><li>Salt Fog </li...
Notice to Proceed – late 2006 <ul><li>Completion slated for October 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>Scaffold the roof ,  lantern a...
Rush Testing – 3 additional priming systems <ul><li>Accelerated weathering of the systems while the scaffold was being des...
Enclosed with mesh
Tiles blasted with Sponge Jet system <ul><li>Removed the gold glaze layer without damaging the fired tiles. </li></ul><ul>...
Blasted tiles
Application of epoxy primer two coats - brushed and rolled
The Lantern <ul><li>65 feet tall – originally gilded </li></ul><ul><li>Top 40’ is cast bronze  </li></ul><ul><li>Lower por...
Lantern Details <ul><li>Bandaids from 1996  </li></ul><ul><li>and 1967 </li></ul><ul><li>Inappropriate repairs </li></ul>
Unexpected Conditions <ul><li>Bituminous tar layer from 1967, covered with powdered lead then lead paint, size and gold le...
Stripping options for the Lantern Original Gilding from 1928
Alternatives <ul><li>Heatguns </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><li>Controlled release of lead  </li></ul><ul><li...
After Sponge Jet blasting
Lead coated copper chemically stripped
Deterioration due to  previous interventions
Repairs to the bronze
Primed Bronze
The Gilding Process
Sizing Slow oil size tinted with oil color
Gilding
Using 195mm ribbon leaf
Sized Finial
Gilding the Finials
Completed Finial
Scaffold Dismantle
Tile touch up and replacement
Summary of the Priming and Gilding Process <ul><li>Tiles –  </li></ul><ul><li>Blasted with Sponge Jet system </li></ul><ul...
<ul><li>Challenges of the Project </li></ul><ul><li>Determining the avenues of failure and proper remediation </li></ul><u...
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Ny Life Project

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The investigation and remediation of the failing gilding on the roof and lantern of the NY Life headquarters in New York City in 2007.

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Ny Life Project

  1. 1. Fading Lustre: Investigation and Remediation of the Golden Roof and Lantern atop the NY Life Headquarters in New York City <ul><li>Presented by Michael Kramer, President, The Gilders’ Studio, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>APTI Meeting in Montreal, October 15, 2008 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Designed by Cass Gilbert <ul><li>Opened in 1928 the building featured 35 occupied floors with a crenellated masonry roof. On top of the roof was a 65’ tall gilded bronze lantern. </li></ul>Another view of the roof.
  3. 3. Leaks were always a problem. Roof was re-designed in 1967 <ul><li>35 th floor was removed. </li></ul><ul><li>22,000 enameled gold tiles were installed. </li></ul><ul><li>Lantern was made watertight and re-gilded </li></ul><ul><li>After 30 years the finish on the tiles began to fail and were replaced with all new tiles in 1996. </li></ul>Roof in 2004
  4. 4. After four years the gold glaze on the new tiles showed signs of failure. <ul><li>While the tiles are initially fired at over 2,000° F, the gold enamel glaze is only fired at @ 1,200 °F. </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in the glaze formula from 1967 to 1995 may have also played a factor. </li></ul><ul><li>An investigation and testing program was initiated in 2001. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Observations in situ Note the relationship between the areas of least gold and the wash patterns of the rain.
  6. 6. Potential Avenues of Failure <ul><li>Note crazing in gold glaze. </li></ul>Uneven application of the glaze.
  7. 7. Investigation and Testing <ul><li>Various approaches were explored 1. New gold tiles – Manufacturer no longer offered them. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Replace tiles with copper shingles and then gild - $$$$!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>3. Apply gilding system to the existing tiles- Testing of various abrasive and priming/gilding systems was approved. </li></ul>Tile blasted with two different abrasives
  8. 8. Accelerated Weathering to ASTM standards and more <ul><li>QUV Ultraviolet and Freeze Thaw. </li></ul><ul><li>Salt Fog </li></ul><ul><li>Acid Deposition </li></ul><ul><li>“ Quenching” i.e. raising the samples to high temperatures and quenching with water to stress the system beyond conventional freeze thaw. </li></ul>Testing was completed in 2003 - Six systems were tested and one in particular outperformed the others.
  9. 9. Notice to Proceed – late 2006 <ul><li>Completion slated for October 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>Scaffold the roof , lantern and tourelles </li></ul><ul><li>Remove failing gold glaze layer </li></ul><ul><li>Strip lantern and make repairs </li></ul><ul><li>Prime and re-gild all elements </li></ul>23 levels of scaffolding January 1, 2007, New VOC regulations– priming system from 2003 became illegal.
  10. 10. Rush Testing – 3 additional priming systems <ul><li>Accelerated weathering of the systems while the scaffold was being designed and built. </li></ul><ul><li>Hydraulic adhesion tests after weathering provided quantifiable results. </li></ul><ul><li>New VOC Compliant system performed better than the one originally chosen. </li></ul><ul><li>Paint manufacturer supplied a 5 year warrantee based on the test results. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Enclosed with mesh
  12. 12. Tiles blasted with Sponge Jet system <ul><li>Removed the gold glaze layer without damaging the fired tiles. </li></ul><ul><li>Recyclable - Collect and re-use up to 8 times </li></ul><ul><li>Virtually no dust </li></ul>
  13. 13. Blasted tiles
  14. 14. Application of epoxy primer two coats - brushed and rolled
  15. 15. The Lantern <ul><li>65 feet tall – originally gilded </li></ul><ul><li>Top 40’ is cast bronze </li></ul><ul><li>Lower portions are copper from 1928 and lead coated copper from 1967 </li></ul><ul><li>Different coatings on the lantern </li></ul>
  16. 16. Lantern Details <ul><li>Bandaids from 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>and 1967 </li></ul><ul><li>Inappropriate repairs </li></ul>
  17. 17. Unexpected Conditions <ul><li>Bituminous tar layer from 1967, covered with powdered lead then lead paint, size and gold leaf. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1996 repainted over the gilding, then new gilding atop </li></ul>140x
  18. 18. Stripping options for the Lantern Original Gilding from 1928
  19. 19. Alternatives <ul><li>Heatguns </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><li>Controlled release of lead </li></ul><ul><li>Worked in one pass </li></ul>
  20. 20. After Sponge Jet blasting
  21. 21. Lead coated copper chemically stripped
  22. 22. Deterioration due to previous interventions
  23. 23. Repairs to the bronze
  24. 24. Primed Bronze
  25. 25. The Gilding Process
  26. 26. Sizing Slow oil size tinted with oil color
  27. 27. Gilding
  28. 28. Using 195mm ribbon leaf
  29. 29. Sized Finial
  30. 30. Gilding the Finials
  31. 31. Completed Finial
  32. 32. Scaffold Dismantle
  33. 33. Tile touch up and replacement
  34. 34. Summary of the Priming and Gilding Process <ul><li>Tiles – </li></ul><ul><li>Blasted with Sponge Jet system </li></ul><ul><li>Primed with 2 coats of epoxy </li></ul><ul><li>Sized with slow oil size </li></ul><ul><li>Lantern – </li></ul><ul><li>Heat stripped and blasted with Sponge Jet system. </li></ul><ul><li>Bronze- primed with zinc chromate </li></ul><ul><li>Lead coated copper- primed with epoxy. </li></ul><ul><li>All surfaces had a slow oil size applied followed by 23.75KT gold leaf in a extra heavy weight. </li></ul><ul><li>Expected service life – 35 years </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>Challenges of the Project </li></ul><ul><li>Determining the avenues of failure and proper remediation </li></ul><ul><li>Working in Manhattan </li></ul><ul><li>Adapting to new VOC standards “on the fly” </li></ul><ul><li>Dealing with the lantern nightmare </li></ul>

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