Friday, October 23, 2015

Brick and mortar and pattern


I'm guessing that masons get a little bored some days, laying row after row of horizontal brick.  But that hasn't been the case this week for the crew at work on the Meyer Law Firm facade, a project that, among other things, is a creative venture.

The facade here had looked the same since 1969, when it was installed by the late Virgil Meyer to update in the fashion of that time a building constructed as a bakery and fronted originally by a huge expanse of glass.

Under the 1969 plan, rusticated brick on the outside reached the ceiling level of the new law offices inside and the balance was covered by a shingled pent roof.


Ray Meyer's goal was to preserve his dad's brickwork, but get rid of the pent roof and bring the upper portion of the facade back to something similar to the original,

When the pent roof was removed it became evident that the original cornice had been virtually destroyed in the 1969 renovation and would have to be rebuilt. 

There also was a substantial gap to fill between the rusticated 1969 brick of the lower facade and the cornice, supported by a structural (and visible) steel beam at the building's original ceiling level.


The masons are busy this week filling that gap by using newly rusticated brick to divide the area between the 1969 brickwork and the cornice into three large panels, the same layout as the original glass facade, then filling those panels with patterned plain brickwork --- herringbone on either end, basket weave in the middle.

Since the supplier inadvertently sold the rusticated brick ordered for this project to someone else, the masons actually rusticated the brick here themselves by hand (rather than machine) --- the old fashioned way.

Once this phase of the project has been completed, the next step will be to rebuild a replica of the original cornice, complete with projecting moulding to thrust it forward, above the structural beam. This will be capped in limestone and may even have a name stone, although exactly what name might be carved in it hasn't  been decided. "Barnett" was there until 1969.

We're not going to be able to see how all of this looks until the project is complete and the scaffolding comes down.

Ray still has options up his sleeve, however. The Board of Adjustment approved two versions of his new facade a couple of weeks ago. The first is being built now. If he decides he doesn't like the way the new brickwork looks, he has the option of covering it with a shallow (and permanent) canvas awning to bridge the gap between the rebuilt cornice and the 1969 brickwork.

Stay tuned!

No comments: