Stronger the Second Time Around - Terra Cotta Restoration Services

Terra Cotta


Ivory Tusk

History: Today known as the Ivory Tusk building, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White originally designed the building in 1924 for Gimbel’s Department Store. The former Marshall Field’s building is located in downtown Milwaukee on the River and was one of the city’s premier department stores for 100 years. This neo-classical designed building covers one-city block and features a large ionic colonnade and also includes a combination of five different structures built in the early 1900s, with the oldest dating back to 1890.

Scope: The Ivory Tusk project involved the cleaning and repointing of the entire terra cotta façade of this 500,000 square foot development in downtown Milwaukee. In additionally, more than 900 pieces of terra cotta were replaced on the five different façade structures on the historic building. The two main projected cornices were disassembled and repaired.

Challenge: Access for work on two main cornices required cantilevered suspended scaffold systems. Design and instillation of structural support system for cornice without complete removal. Cleaning of façade in downtown and on the River presented environmental challenges.

Result: Successful cleaning of façade with environment-friendly cleaning agent. Installation of stainless steel anchorage systems in the interior of the cornice assembly provided structural reinforcement. Design and installation of proper repointing mortar for entire façade.

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