SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for Restoration or Preservation,
Boston College for Gasson Hall with Shawmut Design and Construction
|Photo courtesy Shawmut Design and Construction, Benjamin Johnson|
During the last 100 years, Gasson Hall has become the symbol of Boston College and dominates the campus skyline. It was constructed of Roxbury Puddingstone and cast stone in 1909. Cast stone was a new building material then, and the technical and engineering properties were not well understood. A 2006 inspection determined that the puddingstone had weathered very well but much of the early cast stone had weathered away.
The project’s focus was to faithfully replicate the appearance of the original cast stone details and improve the long-term durability of the masonry construction.
The only long-term solution meant replacement of over 10,000 pieces of stone ranging from 18 pounds to over 4,000 pounds each. Boston College selected this preservation approach, and created a two-phased plan, focusing first on the tower, then on the remainder of the structure and its interior.
The jury said “ . . . a herculean research effort . . . it advances the body of knowledge about preservation . . . the detail was extraordinary . . .”
The cast stone replacement program is the largest restoration project of its type undertaken in North America to date. Beyond restoring its original splendor and structural integrity, Gasson Hall was cured of previous water infiltration issues. This enabled the restoration of interior murals and other artwork, and an interior renovation and modernization, providing new vitality to Boston College’s seminal building.
Many university buildings throughout America are facing cast stone deterioration issues. As these buildings approach a century of use and weathering, this will become common. The inspection, assessment and design techniques used at Gasson Hall provide a precedent to revitalize these very important buildings.
The results are a positive, dramatic change in the building’s appearance, where it again proudly serves as the symbol of the college.
“With Boston College’s sesquicentennial celebrations beginning in May, restoration of Gasson Hall is the focal point for concurrent recognition of one hundred years at the Chestnut Hill campus. The building is stunning,” says Mary S. Nardone, associate vice president, capital projects management.
Project Team: Boston College with Shawmut Design and Construction; also McGinley Kalsow & Associates, Inc.; Perry and Radford Architecture; Phoenix Bay State Construction Co., Inc.