Architects: Carl Stein, FAIA of Elemental Architecture, LLC, New York
Shepard Hall is a prestigious restoration project forming part of the City College of New York.
Originally built in 1907 using a combination of load-bearing stone, glazed terra cotta and steel, Shepard Hall, the University’s main campus building, was suffering major structural deterioration of the terra cotta by the mid 1980’s. Water infiltration had also severely corroded the structural steel. The Dormitory Authority of the City of New York decided that major restoration was called for and commissioned Carl Stein to undertake the work. In his approach to materials specification for the project, partner-in-charge Carl Stein, rejected new glazed terra cotta because of its past poor performance, preferring instead the attractive properties of Cem-FIL STAR GRC an AR fiber/pozzolan patented mix.
This historic restoration projects includes around 75,000 GFRC [GRC] replacement units, most with complex shapes. This represents approximately 25000sq.m. of GRC. The true scope of this work however goes far beyond simple volume. It includes more than 1,000 sculptures. Many of the shapes are non-rectilinear, involving curving forms in several non-orthographic intersecting planes. The work installed at Shepard Hall far exceeds any other similar GRC application.
This major renovation of an important historical building has taken place over a number of years starting in the early 1990’s. As more and more of the building was restored, some of the new GRC [GFRC] elements were next to those installed during the first phase more than 18 years before. It is testimony to the quality of the surface of GRC that the old elements looked, and still do, just as pristine as the new ones! It was a major architectural requirement that the GRC should retain not only its mechanically properties but also its surface appearance over a 100year period and extensive accerated ageing tests were carried out on the approved formulation before it was accepted in 1990. The project was finally completed in 2015 and looks stunning.
“It was a major architectural requirement that the GRC should retain not only its mechanically properties but also its surface appearance over a 100year period”