Reconstruction Awards 2002

This year’s submittals were revived as historic renovations and adaptive reuse facilities from ages old

October 01, 2002 |

A second chance at life

This year’s submittals were revived as historic renovations and adaptive reuse facilities from ages old

By Mindi Zissman, Products Editor

Just as a doctor may give an ailing body a second chance at life, this year’s submittions revived age-old buildings into contemporary facilities, to become Building Design & Construction’s 19th Annual Reconstruction Project Award winners. The 2002 winners reflect today’s major reconstruction trends including historic renovation, adaptive reuse and the exposure of building systems on the interior.

About one-third of this year’s submissions were buildings that are more than 100 years old. A majority of the projects received large-scale interior reconstruction, while a few were exterior masonry upgrades. This year’s entrants included hotels, multi-family housing and educational facilities, among others.

As was the case in years past, many of the 2002 entrants qualified for the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program and were able to substantially enhance their projects with government-subsidized tax credits. (BD&C, Oct. ’01, pg. 23) Just as many submissions came from the Midwest as from the East Coast, while the West Coast trailed behind slightly.

The Montezuma Castle in Montezuma, N.M and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J won this year’s Grand awards, while Merit awards went to the Frank Lloyd Wright's Polk County Science Building at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla.; the Essex & Sussex retirement apartments in Spring Lake, N.J. and the ASQ Center in Milwaukee.

Historic renovation, adaptive reuse

Among the historic renovation projects were the 117-year-old Montezuma Castle and the 435,000-sq. ft. ASQ Center, built in the 1880s.

Adaptive reuse submissions included the Essex & Sussex senior living facility and the Boardwalk Hall sports and entertainment arena.

Because of their age and new applications, the majority of the historic renovation and adaptive reuse projects received massive system upgrades, both mechanical and electrical. Because of their location and the services they provide, many of them had a large impact on their communities as well.

Visible upgrades

This year's submissions indicate that design professionals and their clients are receptive to re-designing a building to look like it has been updated. Exposing building systems on the interior of their facilities was a trend in this year’s Reconstruction Awards entrants.

Traditionally, it was due to the lack of space that the building teams chose to leave many mechanical and electrical systems exposed, instead of trying to hide the new infrastructure. However, it has more recently become some what of an attractive statement as well.

At the Polk County Science Building large ducts run below the ceiling in the labs and vertically scale the atrium walls and columns in the labs, covering much of the roof as well.

“With a historic rehab, you do want to have the new work show,” says Daniel Fowler, principal with Lakeland, N.J.-based Lunz Prebor Fowler Architects. “We want people to know that there has been a new update. Even if you can see the tell-tale repair, that’s fine because it shows how the building has aged.”

The editors of Building Design & Construction proudly present the 19th Annual Reconstruction Award winners…


Grand Award

Boardwalk beauty

Grandeur returns to Atlantic City’s historic home to Miss America

By Larry Flynn, Senior Editor

When it opened on the Boardwalk in 1929, the Atlantic City Convention Hall was hailed as the world’s largest clear-span space under one roof. Supporting its barrel-vaulted ceiling, 10 pairs of three-hinged arched box trusses originally designed by engineer/architect Lockwood Greene, Spartanburg, S.C., provided a column-free space 456 ft. long and 310 ft. wide. A mixture of Romanesque, Byzantine and other styles, and resplendent with sophisticated finishes, details and marine colors, this place of beauty in 1940 became the permanent home to beauty &M>the Miss America Pageant.

Following the 1964 Democratic Convention, which was held in the hall, the city and the building began to flounder. In recent years, sandwiched between glittering gaming casinos, the hall &M>the Boardwalk’s only remaining structure from its golden age &M>was itself a symbol of the city’s faded magnificence. Its leaking, pockmarked ceiling darkened by the smoke of thousands of cigars reflected the general disrepair that overtook the city. Though still clinging to the hem of Miss America’s gown, the completion of a 500,000-sq.-ft. convention center in 1997 ended its use as an exhibition space.

Restored in grand style

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA), the hall’s owner and developer, had plans for its adaptive reuse and enlisted architect/engineer Ewing Cole Cherry Brott, Philadelphia, to design the makeover and Tishman Construction Corp., New York City, to manage construction of the $99 million project.

Last fall the beauty returned to the Boardwalk in a manner befitting its elegance with the completed interior restoration and reconstruction of the 73-year-old facility. This transformation from an outdated convention hall into a first-rate entertainment and sports arena earned it a Grand Award in Building Design & Construction’s 2002 Reconstruction Awards.

Renamed Boardwalk Hall, the inner shell of the historic 340,000-sq.-ft. structure was restored to its original grandeur. A 14,000-seat capacity bowl was added, with new amenities such as bathrooms, concessions and novelty stands housed beneath. The arena again is playing host to top entertainment acts, including concerts by Britney Spears and Paul McCartney. On the sports side, heavyweight boxers often take to the ring when the hall is not being used as home ice for the East Coast Hockey League’s Boardwalk Bullies.

Five-and-a-half years in the making, with a 34-month construction period, the hall’s renaissance was anything but a smooth process. Financing delays in the first six months of the planning phase resulted in 17 different project schedules. Unknown factors such as the discovery of asbestos in the walls of the building led to a significant number of change orders. Demolition of the ice rink revealed widespread corrosion of the structural concrete slab beneath, the result of brine leakage from broken refrigerant tubes (see related story).

“It was a 70-year-old building that had never had anything done to it,” says Barbara Lampen, vice president of strategic planning and development for NJSEA. “Every time you turned around there was another surprise.”

Funding for the project came primarily from $20 million in federal historic rehabilitation tax credits and $80 million provided by the New Jersey casino industry under the reinvestment tax credit provision of the state Casino Control Act.

As a state-operated, nonprofit organization, the NJSEA was prohibited from using the historic tax credits. So it formed a limited liability corporation with Pitney Bowes Credit Corp., which purchased the historic tax credits. The corporation, Historic Boardwalk Hall, LLC, now owns and operates the property while the NJSEA manages it, says Lampen.

Melding history and the modern

While funding was being secured, the building team plotted its strategy. “We had to maintain the historic fabric and integrity of the existing building, but at the same time insert a new, modern seating bowl within it,” says William McCullough, project architect with Ewing Cole Cherry Brott.

The NJSEA’s commitment to the Miss America Pageant complicated the project’s construction phase. Every year, from 1999 to 2001, construction came to a complete halt for four weeks in August and September so the hall could be turned over to pageant officials. “It was a like running a marathon while hopping on one foot,” says John Sassmann, Ewing Cole Cherry Brott’s project manager.

“The pageant set the whole pace for how the job was done,” says Michael Mennella, Tishman’s project executive. “We compartmentalized construction into 11-month bites.”

Asbestos-laden ceiling restored

The project began with the ceiling restoration and proceeded downward. Historic preservation architect/engineer Watson & Henry Associates, Bridgeton, N.J., concluded the ceiling’s compressed sugar cane tile was unsalvageable and posed a fire hazard. Removing the ceiling also meant removing 195,000 sq. ft. of asbestos behind it &M>enough to cover 41/2 acres &M>at a cost of $5 million.

Manufactured by Celotex Corp., St. Petersburg, Fla., the compressed sugar cane fiber was perforated and face-nailed to a wood frame, says Sassmann. The tile was backed up with the asbestos fiberboard shell installed as fire-protection insulation.

The sugar cane tile, which was covered with aluminum paint, was replaced with perforated silver metal panels whose edge details simulated the look of the original tile. Remnants of the original tile on the hall’s two flat end walls were cleaned and restored.

An acoustic blanket was installed behind the metal panels to enhance the acoustics. The perforations in the panels together with the acoustic blanket break down sound waves and reduce reverberation time, says Sassmann.

“On one hand, the asbestos was a tremendous liability in that it was costly and time consuming to remove,” says Sassmann. “But on the other hand, it enabled us to significantly improve the acoustics.”

Erecting scaffolding to reach the 130-ft.-high ceiling was cost prohibitive and would have taken too much time to disassemble and reassemble before and after the pageant. Regional Scaffolding & Hoisting Inc., Bronx, N.Y., remedied the situation by erecting two innovative rolling scaffolding systems, which were suspended from the ceiling trusses. By suspending the scaffolding from the trusses on trolley beams, it could efficiently be rolled into and out of position when needed.

Glass-fiber-reinforced-gypsum panels replicate the box truss’s original architectural enclosures. A series of lighting fixtures along each of the truss enclosures were restored. A reflector-box lighting system behind 2-ft. by 2-ft. laminated glass openings gives the appearance of a window letting in daylight. The lighting replaces an intricate system of 500 watt lamps, wooden sashes, pulleys, motors, and controls.

Additional lighting, a new hockey scoreboard and 130,000 pounds of theatrical and sound equipment and production lighting weigh heavily on the steel trusses. To support the weight, welding supplemental plates, angles and steel sections onto them strengthened 500 steel members.

Eye-catching colors

Much research and work was devoted to restoring the original colors and textures of the hall. “In the heat of battle you sometimes view the historic aspects of a project like this as a burden,” says Sassmann. “But Watson & Henry took the historic aspects of the building and prioritized them in terms of what really was important and made them work for us.”

Although the hall was on the National Register of Historic Places, restoration was not the original emphasis of the project, says Penelope Watson, principal architect with Watson & Henry. “As we got further into the analysis, Ewing Cole and the NJSEA realized that pursuing preservation would make the building standout from other sports and entertainment facilities.”

In addition to the ceiling, the proscenium stage, a decorative stage fire curtain, and a mural above the stage were restored by Evergreene Paint Studios Inc., New York City. The curtain and mural depict nautical themes, curtain featuring one of Columbus’s ships on the sea and the mural showing Neptune against a backdrop of the Atlantic City skyline in 1929.

The balcony areas running perpendicular to the stage also were restored. State seals that adorn the balcony walls and column capitals that line the top of the seating bowl were preserved and restored.

A historic paint analysis was performed, followed by a detailed paint selection process. The aqua colors on the truss enclosures and the silver metal panels on the ceiling tile replicate the original color scheme. “The original intent was to give the impression of being under water,” says Watson.

“The colors are my favorite part of the project,” says the NJSEA’s Lampen. “The most gratifying thing was when local residents would come in and look up and go, ‘Wow!’”

Seating bowl insertion

Removal of the outdated seating balcony, which offered little more than poor sight lines, small seats and tight confines, opened opportunities to move eventgoers closer to the action on the hall floor and on the stage. This also opened the concourse level beneath the bowl to additional concessions, bathrooms, novelty shops, locker rooms, management offices, and back-of-the-house facilities. Meeting rooms beneath the old balcony seating were converted to concession stands.

What’s more impressive is that Ewing Cole Cherry Brott together with arena consultant Rosser International, Atlanta, left the concourse open, revealing the sides of the historic shell. This created an interesting interplay between the juxtaposed historic shell and the modern concourse and seating bowl, which were brought together with the use of complementary materials and colors. Inside, a new balcony ledge was created, with the lip of the bowl meeting at the edge of the balcony.

Just as the hall’s aged, dingy ceiling once signified the decay of the building and Atlantic City, the restored shell and new seating bowl now symbolize their resurrection. Along with the new convention center and restored Boardwalk Hall, next year’s opening of the 2,010-room Borgata will be the city’s first new casino since 1990.

Through the city’s ups and downs, the hall has remained steadfast, the one constant linking its prosperous past and hopeful present. The restoration and renovation was successful in preserving the building’s integrity and identity, says Sassmann, who cites comments from locals upon its reopening. “They said the building hadn’t changed to the point where they no longer recognized it. We kept the important things in place.”

Hydro demolition technology speeds concrete repair

In a project with an abundance of surprises, reconstruction of Boardwalk Hall’s nonfunctioning ice rink posed perhaps the most unexpected and challenging obstacle for the building team. Demolition of the rink’s existing concrete slab in the spring of 2001 uncovered extensive corrosion of the underlying 6-in. structural concrete slab and parts of its supporting steel structure, the result of brine leakage from broken refrigeration tubes in the surface slab.

This discovery threatened to compromise the timely completion of the project. Worse, the hall had to be turned over to Miss America Pageant officials in late August. Conventional repair methods would be time consuming and cost prohibitive.

“What we wanted to do was surgically remove the deteriorated concrete and leave the sound material,” says Andy Lejnieks, senior project manager for construction manager Tishman Construction Corp, New York City. Richard Edsslinger, a structural engineer with architect/engineer Ewing Cole Cherry Brott, Philadelphia, suggested using a hydro-demolition technique typically employed on roadway bridges to remove the top 3 in. of deteriorated concrete from the 17,850-sq.-ft. slab.

Subcontractor Broadbents Inc., Essington, Pa., used a hydro-demolition machine, which shoots 40,000-psi jets of water, to pulverize the corroded concrete without damaging reinforcing steel or creating dust. Varying travel speed and nozzle pressure controls the machine’s depth of cut.

Following the hydro demolition, workers replaced three corroded beams and corroded reinforcing steel. Concrete was then poured using the existing slab as the bottom form and localized plywood form work. In addition, columns that support the hall floor were reinforced. Working around-the-clock, crews headed by prime contractor Quinn Construction Inc., Fulcroft, Pa., completed the project in time for the pageant.


Temporary protection$1,746,000

Hung scaffolding system4,975,000

Ceiling removal/asbestos abatement4,528,000

Ceiling reconstruction21,536,000

Arena bowl14,255,000

Event center fit-out22,450,000

Historic preservation specialties856,000

Furniture, fixtures, equipment10,255,000

Tenant fit-out837,000

Site environmental3,070,000

Project management8,132,000

A/E fee6,000,000



Boardwalk Hall

Atlantic City

, N.J.

Building team

Owner/developer: Historic Boardwalk Hall LLC

Architect: Ewing Cole Cherry Brott

Interior architect: Ewing Cole Cherry Brott

Structural engineer: Ewing Cole Cherry Brott

Mechanical/electrical engineer: Ewing Cole Cherry Brott

Arena consultant: Rosser International Inc.

Historic preservation consultant: Watson & Henry Associates

Construction manager: Tishman Construction Corp.

General information

Area: 650,000 gross sq. ft.

Number of floors: 4

Construction time: October 1998 to August 2001

Construction cost: $98,640,000

Delivery method: Design/bid/build with CM

Project suppliers

Structural system, decking: Wilheim & Kreuse (steel fabrication); United (decking)

Stairs: Storb Inc.

Curtain wall, cladding, panels: Formglas (interior GFRG paneling)

Life safety/security systems: Siemans Building Tech (fire alarm); Caterpillar (emergency generator)

Elevators: Otis

Heating: McQuay Air Handling Units

Energy management controls: Invensys

Power/communications duct, raceway, conduit: General Electrical Switchgear & Load Centers

Wires, cables: AFC Cable Systems; Bridgeport

Plumbing fixtures: Kohler/Sloan

Doors: Eggars Industries (wood doors); Cornell Iron Works (overhead); Nystrom Building Products (access doors and panels)

Door hardware: Von Duprin; Best; Bommer; Mosler

Entrances, storefronts: Kawneer; Blumcraft

Wall tile: Mapei; American Ocean; Dal-Tile

Resilient flooring: Tajima; Armstrong; Nora

Carpet: Freudenberg; Glen Eden; Bolyu; Lees; Mannington Commercial

Lighting controls: Lithonia; Synergis

Ceilings: Armstrong (acoustic lay-in); Simplex Ceiling Systems (main hall)

Interior walls/partitions: USG

Lighting: Holcor; Cole Lighting; Lightworks; Delray Lighting Inc.; Kurtzon; Lithonia, Prescolite, Cole; Space Cannon/Illumination Inc.; Mikohn (cold cathode); Payne Parkman; Stoneco; Tomcat USA Inc. (lighting support system)

Ornamental metals: Papp Iron Works

Kitchen equipment: Master-Bilt; Caddy Air Systems; Atlantic Fire; Teddy

Ice rink system: Ice Builders Inc.; Carrier Bell & Gossett

Railing: SRS Inc.

Tolley partitions: MetPar Corp.

Lockers: Penco

Fire stop system, sealants: 3M, Tremco

Cable tray: B-Line System Inc.

Turning the tide

New Jersey’s new Rehabilitation Code makes recycling of oceanfront hotel feasible

By Renée Young, Contributing Editor

“It is a house of beautiful spacious rooms furnished in exquisite taste and elegance, and will make a strong appeal to those appreciative of refined and comfortable conditions.” That was the published review of the Essex and Sussex Hotel when it first opened its doors in Spring Lake, N.J., in 1914. Those same words apply today as the landmark oceanfront hotel reopens as a year-round rental residence for active adults.

Once considered a jewel of the New Jersey shore, the Essex and Sussex Hotel was the summer destination for wealthy residents of both New York and Philadelphia, European royalty and even a U.S. president or two. The block-long hotel, named to acknowledge its stretch from Essex Avenue to Sussex Avenue, was designed as an L-shaped, six-story, wood-framed structure containing 412 guest rooms, two lavish lobby floors, full porches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, an ornate dining room, kitchen, and library.

But the world changed after World War II, and when the Garden State Parkway was completed in 1954, travelers opted for far-off destinations. As neighboring hotels were sold and demolished to make way for high-end homes, the Essex and Sussex continued on for 30 years more, changing hands in the 1970s, playing a starring role in the “Great Gatsby” in 1974 and James Cagney’s last film, “Ragtime,” in 1981. It eventually closed as a hotel in 1985.

A new owner had ambitious plans to turn the hotel into 206 seasonal condominiums. The developer gutted the property, began adding new and extending existing balconies and tearing off the wrap-around porch. But bankruptcy drove the developer to abandon the hotel in shambles in 1990. That’s when Hoboken, N.J.-based developer Applied Development Associates (ADA) stepped in.

In 1993, the group purchased the hotel with a plan to transform the 225,650-sq.-ft. property into 165 senior-living apartments. But it wasn’t easy to turn the tide. Local residents opposed the reconstruction, and zoning regulations made it look as if the project would be swept out to sea. It wasn’t until 1999 that a Superior Court judge gave the developers the go-ahead.

Because a faulty roof had left most of the building exposed to the elements, water damage had taken its toll. This enabled vandals of both the animal and human variety to do their worst. With the remnants of a failed project all around, including half-built walls in some areas and walls stripped to the base in others, the building team set forth with a diligent plan for success. It consisted of ADA, Cherry Hill, N.J.-based architect Kanalstein Danton Associates (KDA), and Leonardo, N.J.-based contractor AJD Construction.

An absolute disaster

“It was an absolute disaster,” says Gary Kanalstein, principal with Kanalstein Danton Associates, commenting on his first viewing of the building. “Most people would have torn it down, but the Essex and Sussex is one of the last of the large hotel structures on the New Jersey shore and the team had the vision to restore it to its grandeur.”

“In order to make this work while saving on costs and aggravation, it’s important to set out a plan and for all to be confident in understanding what needs to be done and always be prepared for the unexpected,” adds Allen Goldman, senior vice president with ADA. Together the team established a clear strategy under which they determined what was imperative for a senior-living facility, including the size and massing of the facility, functional arrangements of space, type of construction materials to be used, HVAC systems, electrical and lighting systems and the interior finishes.

Among the first objectives was an analysis of the existing site. This year-long process consisted of documenting and investigating all existing conditions using digital photography, as-built drawings and researching the construction of the Essex and Sussex in the early 1900s. Samples of the few existing materials were catalogued so a material match could be achieved.

This extensive cataloguing was necessary to perform work under the then newly-adopted New Jersey Rehabilitation Code. Essex and Sussex is the first major rehabilitation project completed using the new code. Accepted by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the code allows for the reconstruction and alteration of existing wood-frame structures by providing specific guidelines geared toward the preservation of such buildings. “This project would not have been possible without the code,” says Kanalstein. “It enabled us to maintain the existing balloon wood frame structure, which other codes would have called for us to demolish &M>even though the building is built like the Rock of Gibraltar.”

Since its release in 1999, the code has had a significant impact in upgrading structures in the state. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the rate of reconstruction projects,” says William Connolly, director of the state’s Division of Codes and Standards. According to Connolly, since the code’s inception, projects involving existing structures have increased by 62% in the state’s largest cities, and the state overall has seen an 18% increase.

A focus on seniors

With experience in senior living design, KDA was geared to not only restore the structure to its glorious past, but also reconfigure the site to serve the future needs of its intended tenants. “The original, ocean-facing entry has a beautiful staircase, which, while aesthetically pleasing, is not conducive to senior residents,” says Kanalstein. As a result, the building now includes a new main entry and porte cochere on the west side of the building. The new configuration allows for tenants to be dropped off at the door and provides additional parking.

The new, steel-framed porte cochere is attached to the existing building structure and blends with the restored exterior. The façade includes a combination of brick at the base of the building, with stucco plaster and EIFS covering the remainder. The team also restored plaster accents at the exterior doors and windows, ornate wood trim and details at the fascias and friezes that accent the A-framed roof structure, and the copper gutters, downspouts, and flashing used throughout.

The building’s garden level and first two floors include community spaces that have been fully restored to their original splendor with solid, 6-in., two-piece wood base molding and three-piece painted wood crown moldings with dentils. A solarium overlooking the Atlantic Ocean has been added to provide residents with additional views. Other amenities include a piano bar, library, multimedia room, beauty salon, art studio, computer room and state-of-the art fitness center. “We retained the original size of the public spaces, which were originally designed for some 420 hotel guests, for the tenants of the 165 units &M>meaning there is a lot of room for tenants,” Kanalstein observes.

The highlight of the restoration is the grand dining room. The developer chose to restore this room to its original splendor. Not withstanding the fact that it was heavily damaged, ADA secured the services of a New York-based firm Architectural Restoration, who worked diligently for seven months to replicate all of the plaster, castings and moldings. The fully restored dining room evokes the luxury and grandeur of the hotel as it must have appeared during its original opening in 1914.

Above the two floors of public spaces are four levels of standard rooms including a level of two-story penthouses. All the units are sprinklered, have radiant heating, and feature private balconies overlooking either the Atlantic or Spring Lake. As all meals are included, the units contain functional kitchenettes. Standard units average 460 sq. ft., with the penthouses averaging nearly 1,000 sq. ft. “These sizes are typical for senior housing,” Goldman says. While these units are not all ADA-compliant, 28 apartments are accessible units. In total, 15% of the units are accessible.

Labor of love

The Essex and Sussex formally opened for occupancy in May. Even though the project went through some tough issues with the town, it has become a major attraction to residents of Spring Lake. In fact, upon its opening, the town’s mayor offered his complete support to the success of the project. “This is the first project where those people working on it didn’t want to leave &M>it truly was a labor of love,” said Kanalstein.

“There’s simply nothing like it in today’s marketplace,” says Goldman. “We set out to provide luxury residence for active adults and were able to restore an elegant historic landmark in the process &M>who could ask for anything more?”

Renée Young is a freelance writer based in Mundelein, Ill., and a former editor of BD&C.

Project Summary

Essex and Sussex

Spring Lake, N.J.

Building Team

Owner/Developer: Applied Development Company

Architect: Kanalstein Danton Associates, P.A.

Interior architect: ID Merlo Design

Contractor: AJD Construction

Facilities Operator: Life Care Services Corporation

Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: Barrone Engineering

Structural Engineering: Michael Beach & Associates

Plaster Restoration: Architectural Restoration

General Information

Area: 225, 650 square feet

Number of floors: 6

Construction time: November 2000 to May 2002

Construction cost: $15,760,121

Delivery method/contract type:Fixed Price

Project Suppliers


Wrought Iron: Arrow Iron

Carpet: Milliken: Soroush Custom Rugs

Wall covering: Olney Wallcoverings

Acoustic tile: Armstrong

Tile: Mohawk

Paint: Benjamin Moore

‘White elephant’ resuscitated

A block-square retail complex in downtown Milwaukee is converted into an office/hotel/retail development

By Gordon Wright, Executive Editor

For as long as most Milwaukee area residents can recall, a complex of buildings on the south side of Wisconsin Avenue at the Milwaukee River was known as “the white elephant” because of the white paint that covered its upper floor windows. The slumbering giant has now been transformed into a 435,000-sq.-ft., mixed-use development that incorporates 260,000 sq. ft. of office space, retail space and a 131-room hotel.

Originally the home of Gimbel’s department store, the property was taken over in 1986 by retailer Marshall Fields. The Fields store closed in 1997.

Milwaukee developers Bill Orenstein of Williams Development Co. and Mark Irgens of Irgens Development Partners saw possibilities for the abandoned buildings &M>and even perpetuated the “white elephant” theme by naming their partnership Ivory Tusk, LLC. Other primary building team members were Kahler Slater Architects (KSA) and general contractor J.H. Findorff & Son, both based in Milwaukee.

After Fields had indicated it might close the store, Orenstein considered purchasing the property and hired KSA to develop options for its conversion to apartments or residential condominiums. They included schemes under which Fields would consolidate on the lower two floors, with apartments above. However, the property’s long east-west dimension made this concept impractical because the resulting units would have been long and skinny.

The project became feasible when a quality control organization and a hotel signed on, taking more than halfthe complex’s space. The American Society for Quality (ASQ) occupies its southern section under condominium ownership. A Marriott Residence Inn was incorporated at the midpoint of the complex. Ivory Tusk LLC purchased the complex for $3 million in late 1998.

ASQ, which has more than 109,000 individual and 1,100 corporate sustaining members worldwide, offers reference, referral and research on quality-related topics. It also administers the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award that is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The mercantile buildings were constructed in five phases between the 1880s and 1925. A wood-framed structure, the complex’s earliest building, was razed in order to accommodate the hotel. Its removal provided a courtyard entrance for ASQ Center’s hotel and office components. “The remaining building gave us a width we could work with for double-loaded corridors for office and hotel,” says KSA principal George Meyer. A lobby that serves both the office portion and leads to the hotel is contemporary in design, with floors of white marble and black granite, and walls of white opaque glass.

KSA occupies 35,000 sq. ft., primarily on the third floor. Coincidentally, the ASQ and Kahler offices were both previously tenants in same building, and are again under the same roof.

Patience required

Because the project stretched out for seven years from conception to execution, patience was a necessary attribute for members of the ASQ Center building team. But once construction began, it was on a very tight time line, according to John Rodell, vice president of general contractor J.H. Findorff & Son. The work included replacement of 490 pieces of damaged terra cotta, requiring 200 individual molds. Nearly 1,400 exterior windows were replaced.

Contractors ran into undocumented changes to the structure that affected the building’s structural integrity. For example, when escalators that had been installed in the 1930s were removed, floor structures needed to be reinforced. “Once you opened up a space and got through demolition, you found more than what you thought would be one or two layers of buildout construction,” Rodell adds.

Underground parking was created by installing an access ramp to the store’s former “bargain basement.” The columns at this level were optimally spaced, for accommodating both vehicles and merchandising operations, he says.

Execution of the project was complicated by the involvement of separate owners. “Every time there was a change in plans, we had to get five partners to agree,”Orenstein recalled.

The project represents the largest historic rehabilitation to date in Wisconsin, for which it received a $8.25 million tax credit. It also obtained a loan ofnearly $50 million from a bank, which was the largest real estate loan that bank had made on a single project. Ivory Tusk LLC raised $10 million in equity. The city of Milwaukee provided a $6.5 million second mortgage loan and a $3 million grant for public improvements.

Because the complex was a certified historic structure, the National Park Service required that it recognize the continuous street façade of which the razed section was a part. This was accomplished with a two-story-high screen wall that encloses the hotel courtyard. The hotel notes on its web site that it is located on the site of the first department store in the Midwest, founded in 1842.

Location, location, location

ASQ Center’s prime downtown location made the adaptive reuse project a promising proposition. The Milwaukee River is immediately to the east. To the west, a skywalk connects it to The Grand Avenue, a 1982 redevelopment of the historic Plankington Arcade. Wisconsin Avenue, which runs through the heart of downtown, borders ASQ Center on the north.

The actions of two original downtown Milwaukee developers who did not want a uniform street grid to connect their competing developments provide a bonus for occupants of the north end of the ASQ Center. A jog in Wisconsin Avenue gives them an unobstructed view of the mast of the new Milwaukee Art Museum addition several blocks away.

Indicative of ASQ Center’s acceptance is that as of last month only 50,000 sq. ft. of space out of its total of 435,000 sq. ft. remained unleased.

The most fulfilling aspect of the project? Meyer suggests it can be experienced as darkness falls and light shines through new windows that are no longer obscured by white paint. This makes the complex “come alive,” Meyer exclaims. “It is now lively on the street.”

ASQ Center

Milwaukee, Wis,

Building team:

Developer: Ivory Tusk, LLC, a partnership of Williams Development Corp. and Irgens Development Partners

Architect: Kahler Slater Architects

Mechanical(design/build): Total Comfort

Structural engineer: Arnold and O’Sheridan

Historic restoration consultant: Uihlein Wilson Architects

SMEP: Arnold and O’Sheridan

General information

Area: 425,000 sq. ft., plus 57,000 sq. ft. of underground parking and remote parking structure,

Number of floors: 7 plus basement

Construction time: February 1999 to February 2001

Delivery method: Negotiated contract with guaranteed maximum price

Construction costs

Retail/office space$23,436,000

ASQ space10,230,000


Remote parking



Project suppliers

Ceiling: Armstrong

Tile: American Olean, Dal-Tile, Floor Gres

Wright’s legacy lives on

Largest of 12 buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern College is restored and modernized

By Dave Barista, Associate Editor

From the “Fallingwater” house in rural Pennsylvania to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) has left his mark all over the world. But perhaps if there’s any one place where the master architect’s legacy stands most prominently it is at Florida Southern College (FSC). Between 1938 and 1958, Wright designed 18 buildings for the small Methodist liberal arts school as part of his “Child of the Sun” campus, 12 of which were built. Located about 30 miles east of Tampa in Lakeland, Fla., the 1,800-student university is home to the world’s largest on-site collection of Wright-design structures (see sidebar p. xx).

The Polk County Science Building, completed in 1958, was the last of Wright’s FSC structures to be constructed. Originally built for $1 million, the laboratory science facility, at 64,000 sq. ft., is the largest of the Wright buildings on campus, and it contains the only planetarium he designed that was constructed. The building’s long low profile exemplifies Wright’s organic architecture. The structure also contains the first use of aluminum for aesthetic purposes.

Like many of the Wright buildings at FSC, the Polk County Science Building was in need of a serious overhaul after more than 40 years of service. Although the facility had stood structurally stable, its concrete-block exterior had spalled and cracked; it’s build-up roof had many leaks; and its lab teaching spaces were woefully outdated.

“We wanted to bring the building up to modern standards for use as a science teaching facility,” says Terry Dennis, vice president of finance with FSC. “While also restoring the exteriors and key interior spaces of this historic building closer to its original Wright appearance.”

Architect of record Lunz Prebor Fowler Architects (LPF), Lakeland, teamed with consulting architects John McAslan & Partners, London, and structural and M/E/P engineer Ove Arup & Partners, New York City, on a $10.1 million, 16-month restoration and modernization project. It involved installing a new mechanical and electrical infrastructure; reorganizing the layout of the classrooms, offices and labs; and repairing the exterior concrete-block walls and roof.

Other project team members included general contractor Kvaerner Construction Inc., Tampa, (now part of Beers Skanska, Atlanta), and laboratory consultants Earl Walls Associates, San Diego.

Textile concrete blocks repaired

The Polk County Science Building is one of more than a 40????? Wright structures constructed using his then-innovative textile concrete-block wall system, which he developed in the 1920s. It consists of standard blocks &M>36 in. long, 9 in. high and 3 in. thick, in this case &M>stacked dry and tied together with interlaced vertical and horizontal 0.25-in.-diameter steel rebar inserted through semicircular recesses on each side of each block. Liquid grout was then poured into vertical holes created by the recesses, filling the horizontal and vertical voids. The typical exterior wall at Polk County is 9 in. thick, consisting of two block walls and a 3-in. air space in between. Where the walls are load bearing, which is about 50% in this case, the air space was filled with concrete.

“In theory, the grout would go down the vertical cells and when it hit the horizontal cells it would fill them as well because it was so viscous,” says Daniel Fowler, principal with LPF. “In most cases that worked, but there were quite a few areas where it did not cover all the rebar. So in the semitropical climate, the porous block absorbed water and the reinforcement bar rusted and expanded, causing the block work to spall.”

Consequently, the wall system that Wright declared would “be standing a thousand years into the future” actually started to crumble within a few decades.

Blocks with small cracks were patched. Where large pieces of concrete were missing, the entire block was replaced with a replica hand made by subcontractor ??????. According to Karen Berg, project manager with Beers Skanska, approximately 700 new blocks were created one at a time using wood molds. Ove Arup devised a new concrete admixture containing a rubber-polymer additive that matched the original color and texture, and that was also more weatherproof.

“Wood forms were used because we could not get the same texture using today’s premolded plastic or metal frames,” says Berg. Fifteen to 20 molds were used to make the stones, which came in several sizes. The cementitious material was tamped in three layers and allowed to sit for 24 hours. The form was then dismantled and the block would cure for three to five days.

Also a tedious task, says Berg, was matching the original block colors, which vary throughout the building depending on the level of weather exposure. “There is a wide range of colors from a brownish yellow to a sierra orange,” she says. “We would have to order a few blocks at a time, maybe 10 to 40. And we had a masonry expert there at all times analyzing different shades and making what he called ‘cookies’ &M>small test samples that were sent along with the order to the subcontractor.”

Even more troublesome were numerous leaks in the roof structure that forced the university to abandon a portion of the building where puddles would collect. The main cause, says Fowler, was failure in the old roof flashings where the roof intersects the block walls, which is quite often since, like many Wright buildings, the structure has so many levels. “The water would absorb through cracks in the block and then run down the air space in between the walls,” says Fowler.

The contractor repaired the flashings and replaced portions of the built-up roof. Where the roof is visible to the public, the team specified a gravel finish to match the old roof. On the highest level, which is out of sight to most, they went with a less expensive modified-bitumen material with a granular surface.

On the east side of the building, a large green house addition built in the 1970s (????) was demolished in an effort to restore the building to its original 1958 look. Removing the structure exposed its copper roof edge and trellis-like openings.

Squeeze play

Updating the interior spaces to meet current building code requirements was challenging, especially since it would continue to be used as a lab facility, says Fowler. Consistent with the technology of the day, the building was designed without a central HVAC system. Moreover, Wright’s basic skeletal design left very little space for the mechanical ductwork and infrastructure needed to adequately supply the labs with fresh air.

“The building recirculated air in the laboratories through small cooling units, which violated code regulations,” says Ken Debore (?????), project manager with Earl Walls Associates. “Also, chemistry teaching laboratories contained outdated fume hoods that did not operate according to current standards due, in part, to no source of make-up air and inadequate exhaust systems. Air balancing and relative pressurization between lab and non-lab spaces is virtually impossible, therefore chemical odors can be detected in all areas of the building.”

In short, the lab facilities required completely revamped HVAC systems, as well as modern plumbing and electrical infrastructure. To minimize the impact of the major system upgrades on the historical architecture, the classrooms, offices and labs were consolidated into specific use zones. This enabled the team to confine the installation of large laboratory HVAC systems to a single block. The facility utilizes chilled water from a central chiller with variable-air-volume (VAV) air-handling units. The “wet” labs are equipped with fume hoods tied to the lab exhaust.

Due to low floor-to-ceiling heights, which range from 7 ft. to 11 ft., the two main supply ducts for the building were installed in a new 10-ft.-deep, 12-ft.-wide service trench dug under the first floor labs. From there, supply air is distributed to the labs via vertical risers in the two-story central atrium, which feed smaller horizontal ducts that could be suspended from the lab ceilings. The main exhaust ductwork is located on the roof.

No secrets here

The design team chose to leave the majority of the ductwork fully exposed. “Instead of encasing the ducts in stone or drywall, it was left exposed,” says Fowler. “We would argue that encasing it would make more of an architectural change in that space then simply leaving it exposed. We want people to know that it is a new update; we don’t want to try and fool people. So I think this does it in a very clean matter.

Also, regarding the exposed mechanical equipment on the rooftop, Fowler says, “The state preservation people had no problem with that because they recognized that it’s a very necessary intrusion for the re-use of the building as a lab. They prefer that the building retain the same use.”

To meet ADA requirements, an elevator was installed near the main entrance and concrete stairways were replaced with ramps at two different levels. Also, a small lift was installed in the north end of the building.

Finally, Wright’s only existing planetarium received new life as a private donation permitted the university of purchase a new star machine. “We reused the original seating, but rearranged the layout from a 360-degree circle to a semicircular layout where everyone is facing the same direction,” says Fowler.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy at Florida Southern College

In 1938, Dr. Ludd Spivey (left), then president of Florida Southern College, approached Frank Lloyd Wright about designing “a great education temple in Florida.” The two would work together over the next twenty years to construct 12 structures for the university:

Annie Merner Pfeiffer Chapel1941$100,000

Cora Carter Seminar1941$80,000

Charles W. Hawkins Seminar1941????

Isabel Walbridge Seminar1941 ????


E.T. Roux Library1945$120,000

Emile E. Watson Administration Building1948?????

Benjamin Fine Administration Building1948 ????

J. Edgar Wall Waterdome1948$15,000

Industrial Arts Building1952 $52,200

William H. Danforth Chapel1955$50,000

Polk County Science Building1958$1 million

Construction Costs







Laboratory casework943,792


General requirements2,239,916


Project Summary

Polk County Science Building,

Florida Southern College

Lakeland, Fla.

Owner: Florida Southern College

Architects: Lunz Prebor Fowler Architects; John McAslan & Partners

Structural, M/E/P engineer: Ove Arup Partners

General contractor: Kvaerner Construction (purchased by Beers Skanska)

Area: 64,000 gross sq. ft.

Number of floors: 2

Construction time: January 1999 to March 2001

Construction cost: $10.1 million

Laboratory casework: Collegedale Casework Inc.

Roofing: GAF Materials Corp.

Paints: Coronado

Laboratory flooring: Altro

Planetarium star machine: Spitz

Fumehoods: Air Master Systems

Casework fixtures: Water Saver Faucet Co.

HVAC Controls: Siemens Building Tech.

Lab Exhaust System: Strobic Air Corp.

Compressed Air System: Aero Vac Services Corp.

High Purity Lab Water System: U.S. Filter Corp.

Plumbing Fixtures: American Standard


A 117-year old former hotel now serves an educational institution designed to teach teen-agers from around the world about conflict resolution

By Gordon Wright, Executive Editor

The imposing Queen Anne-style structure in a remote area of New Mexico began life as a fashionable hotel built by the Santa Fe Railway to induce travel by train.A changing society cut short the hotel’s place in history, as the pool of wealthy entrepreneurs seeking long-term accommodations dwindled, automobile travel soared, and newer hotels offered other options. The lure of the area’s natural hot springs notwithstanding, the hotel closed in 1903.

The building, which takes the name Montezuma from that of the hotel, has had a checkered history since then. It was given by the railroad to the YMCA; sold to the Baptist Church in the 1920s; and served a Jesuit seminary from the mid-1930s until the late 1960s. Following a $10 million renovation, “Montezuma Castle” is now a key building on the campus of Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, a novel institution that draws teen-agers from all over the world to learn about conflict resolution.

This adaptive reuse of a historic structure earned the Montezuma Castle a Grand Award in Building Design & Construction’s Reconstruction Project of the Year competition.

Renovation of the 117-year-old structure, designed by the legendary Chicago firm of Burnham and Root, was accomplished by a team that included Albany, N.Y.-based A/E Einhorn Yaffee Prescott (EYP) and Albuquerque-based general contractor Bradbury Stamm Construction.

“We knew what we wanted to do,” says Mark Thaler, project principal for EYP.“The challenge was to allow that to happen while at the same time meeting life safety and accessibility requirements and &M>most importantly &M>the budget, which was very tight. We had to be extremely judicious about where we put the money.”

Structural deficiencies were among the biggest headaches faced by the building team. Thetwo floors above the present dining room (originally the hotel ballroom) were supported by five 12-ft.-high, 60-ft.-long clear-span wood trusses. “Every one of them had failed, over a long period of time,” Thaler says.

Support columns had been added during the 1930sin an attempt to correct the problem, but it continued to worsen. The columns redirected forces to the exterior walls, causing them to bulge.

Heavy lifting

Richard Tavelli, senior vice president of Bradbury Stamm, says the trusses had sagged by as much as 7 inches at the center. The installation of new trusses was not an option. It was thus necessary to jack the truss area upward to level it, and then to encapsulate the wooden trusses by bolting steel to both sides of them.. Tavelli said it was determined that the only way to return the building to proper alignment was to coordinate 20 jacks in a “choreographed” lift session. The use of welding to erect the steel trusses was strictly prohibited &M>and for an understandable reason. Two of the building’s predecessor structures were destroyed by fire.

Another structural deficiency was a basement brick bearing wall that had been blown out, reportedly by a film crew making the movie “The Evil.” This caused the three floors above to slope from 6 in. to 9 in. The grand staircase, which received extensive water damage, had been propped up with 2-by-4s to prevent further instability.

Trim and baseboards inside the building were “in fairly decent shape,” Thaler says, although it was necessary to strip and lead-abate them. Plaster damage was extensive throughout the building.Windows were rehabilitated, and replaced only if they were unsalvageable. Original features that were retained include stained glass windows above the dining room fireplace and a skylight.

Montezuma Castle was designed in a style that is decidedly Eastern, rather than representative of New Mexico. Thaler notes that this is reflected, for example, in its use of slate and ashlar stone. Since no local residents were experienced in the repair of slate, an expert was brought from New York to show workers how to mix mortar and perform the pointing.

The project attempted to retain similar functions in areas of the building where they had existed in the former hotel, says United World College president Philip Geier. For example, space that was previously public remains public, and former guest rooms are now dormitory rooms.

A Rubik’s cube

Tavelli likened many of the construction operations to “manipulating a Rubik’s Cube. We’d adjust something in one place, and it would spin out in another,” he says. Bradbury Stamm worked with local contractor Franken Construction Co, on the basis of a 90%/10%partnership.

The college is five miles from Las Vegas, N.M., which has a population of about 16,000. Because ofthe remoteness of the site &M>and at a time of record construction activity in New Mexico &M>it was not easy to recruit craft employees from metropolitan areas. However, Bradbury Stamm was able to find more than 20 “amazingly good” local craftsmen, who were able to refashion existing materials for new applications. For example, 2 in-by-12 in. floor joists were milled into new handrails for the veranda. In fact, Tavelli largely credits this on-site fabrication capability for keeping the project below budget.

Because its two predecessor structures had both been destroyed by fire, the Montezuma Castle was constructed with triple-thick interior brick walls.Conduit for the entirely new electrical system had to be embedded within them.

Construction work was complicated by the initial presence of thousands of bats. They were evicted at the outset of construction.&M> and again well into the construction schedule &M>when 5,000 bats were removed. “When we first got there, we found much guano,” Thaler recalls. “It was hot, and all the windows were closed. The smell would take your breath away.” After the guano was removed, interior surfaces were sprayed with a bleach mixture.

A fascinating client

Thaler describes the college as “probably the most fascinating institutional client I've ever dealt with.” It is one of 10 institutions throughout the world under the umbrella organization of United World College. Organized by Lord Montbatten after World War II, its objective is to bring young people from throughout the world together to interact before they reach an age when prejudices develop. About 200 students ages 16 to 19 attend the college. In keeping with United World Colleges’ policy, one-fourth of the enrollment is designated for students of the host country.

In the early 1980s, Britain’s Prince Charles, who then headed the United World College organization, persuaded the late industrialist Armand Hammer to establish a college in the U.S. Hammer, who was chairman of Occidental Petroleum, purchased the property on which Montezuma Castle is located, which now encompasses 150 acres. Because the parent United World College campus in Wales was built around a castle, Hammer wanted his college also to have a connection with a castle-type structure.

No longer endangered

The restoration began in earnest in 1997, when the National Trust for Historic Preservation included the building on its list of the Eleven Most Endangered Places. The following year, the college began hired Santa Fe architect Laban Wingert to prepare a feasibility study for the building’s reuse.

Montezuma Castle, not surprisingly, has some interesting historical roots. The original hotel was the first building in New Mexico to have electric lights. Documents held by the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives indicate that the outlaw Jesse James was the first “celebrity” of note to stay at the hotel. The present building reportedly contained the first bowling alley west of the Mississippi River. This area is now part of a student recreation center.

In addition to the Montezuma Castle, the college has a lower campus with buildings constructed in the 1960s for use by a Jesuit seminary.

Construction costs


General conditions$581,619



Concrete and forms127,478



Iron and steel148,988

Structural repairs509,224

Rough carpentry195,164

Millwork and rough trim446,780

Wood floors158,669

Roofing and sheet metal375,598

Doors, frames and hardware344,146

Finish hardware113,985

Windows, glass and glazing437,474

Plaster and stucco279,963


Ceramic and quarry tile187,100

Resilient and VCT33,126


Kitchen equipment286,254




Fire protection/sprinklers216,141


Misc.allowances and costs1,500,117



Montezuma Castle at United World College,

Montezuma, N.M.

Building team

Owner: Armand Hammer United World College of the American West

Architect/engineer: Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture & Engineering

General contractor: Bradbury Stamm Construction

in association with Franken Companies

General information

Area: 90,370 sq. ft.

Number of floors: 5

Construction time: April 2000 to October 2001

Delivery method: Construction management with a guaranteed maximum price

Project suppliers

Roofing: MBC (standing seam); Coppercraft (shingles)

Elevator: Thyssen Dover

Interior partitions: American Gypsum

Plaster materials: USG)

Paint: Sherwin Williams

Doors: Madawaska

Hearth tile: North Prairie Tile Works

Plumbing fixtures: American Standard

Fire protection: Notifier

Signage: ASI Sign Systems

Overlay Init