In my previous post related to the Alumni Court restoration project, we had recently finished the masonry restoration of the vertical walls and were preparing the upper level walkway for concrete installation. Now, it is safe to say Phase 1 has been completed and is looking just as beautiful as when the courtyard was originally constructed in 1927.
Over the past 6 months, we have been busy finishing up Phase 1 and completing activities such as: pouring the upper level concrete walkway; installing all flat paving (including brick, fieldstone, and red slate); and replacing limestone columns and bases. We also restored three windows and the interior plaster work damaged by water infiltrating the building over the years.
It was very exciting to see how the contractor replaced the columns and their bases. Before any demolition could begin, the brick arches were supported by heavy duty scaffolding with an I-beam and custom-made wooden forms fitted directly into each arch. With this configuration, the contractor was able to ever-so-slightly raise each arch so that there was enough room to remove the column capitals, the columns, and finally the column bases. At that point, the new bases could be installed, followed by new columns, and the existing column capitals.
Throughout the Spring, we will be continuing with Phase 2 which includes restoring the upper level walkway running north/south, columns/arches running north/south, paving work directly below the walkway, and the remaining paving within the courtyard.
Stay tuned for a progress report on Phase 2. As always, many thanks to the contractors and architects who work so hard on these projects.
–Ryan Pfeifer, Project Manager II, Cranbrook Capital Projects
Editor’s Note: The four new columns have the alumni names carved into them, and the originals (which had severely degraded and were illegible) will be stored safely elsewhere on campus.