Western Specialty Contractors Wins National ICRI Award for Christ Church United Methodist Façade Restoration


Western Specialty Contractors – New York Metro Branch was honored virtually on Oct. 22 with a 2020 International Concrete Restoration Institute (ICRI) Award of Merit (Masonry category) for façade restoration of historic Christ Church United Methodist in New York. The project had previously won Project of the Year from the ICRI Metro NY Chapter.

ICRI conducts an awards program each year to honor and recognize outstanding projects in the concrete and masonry repair industry. Judging is based on uniqueness, use of state-of-the-art methods and materials, functionality, value engineering and aesthetics. Entries are received from around the world, and the winning projects are honored each year at the ICRI Fall Convention. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2020 Fall Convention was held virtually.

In 2018, Western’s crew, alongside Project Architect Kate Groob, RA, and Principal Thomas Fenniman, RA from Thomas A. Fenniman Architect took on the task of restoring one of the prominent structures on New York City’s Upper East Side – Christ Church United Methodist. Located at the northwest corner of Park Avenue and 60th Street, the 86-year-old brick and limestone church was showing signs of wear-and-tear and deterioration. Several of its brick corners had cracked and precariously pulled away from the building; its plaza on Park Avenue needed to be replaced and made ADA compliant; and grout between its limestone and brick was missing or damaged.

Western’s skilled workers performed masonry repairs, repointed all of the stone to stone mortar joints and removed and rebuilt the failing masonry corners, amongst several other repairs. In total, Western performed work on approximately 19,000 square feet of the church’s total 28,000-square-foot Romanesque and Byzantine Revival style façade.

“One of the greatest challenges on this project was ensuring that the new masonry matched the existing. Understanding the historical significance of this structure, we went the extra mile to source masonry samples from several distributors in the Tri-state area and performed loose laid mock-ups on site. After several modifications, we achieved the desired result by utilizing three brick colors with the darker browns removed from the blend and salvaged bricks mixed in their place,” said Western New York Metro Senior Branch Manager James Norberg. “We are honored that ICRI recognized our dedication and expertise on this important restoration.”

In addition to the façade repairs, the church also needed to replace its 580-square-foot plaza. The previous plaza was flat with steps going up to both the front and side door entrances. This required the church to use a temporary metal ramp, which was an eyesore and not an ideal solution.

Western began the plaza replacement by removing the existing plaza down to the concrete deck, then installed the waterproofing system, which consisted of 2-ply Siplast torch down waterproofing, drain mat, rigid insulation board, and filter fabric. Lastly, the setting bed, pavers, limestone planter, ramp, steps and curb were installed to complete the plaza replacement. To match the existing plaza, the same stone material was sourced for the replacement pavers, which was a Crab Orchard stone quarried out of Tennessee.

The $1.8 million project took just over four months to complete.

About Western Specialty Contractors

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.                    

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