Happy New Year 2019!
December 31, 2018
It’s true that 2017 was extremely busy, but 2018 was gone in the blink of an eye. So many fantastic, creative projects kept the weeks flying by, and brought new life for some wonderful historic buildings.
In Waterloo Road, the final touch on last year’s refurbishment project was to repoint the front facade, with aid from the Built Heritage Investment Scheme. The sand-and-cement pointing had caused many of the original red bricks to spall, and it was important to protect the sound historic fabric as well as the fresh redecoration and repairs to the interior. The cementitious mortar was raked out with hand tools and repointed with NHL 3.5, using Otterbein lime. Some of the salvageable, spalled bricks were reversed, whilst others were repaired using a Remmers mortar. Several samples were provided before deciding on the final colour in order to match the existing fabric as closely as possible. The voussoirs over the jack arches were also carefully repointed; there was historic evidence of inappropriate, non-original bonding patterns, which was corrected as part of the works. The missing, original Roman Cement cornice in front of the parapet blocking course was also reinstated, and feathered into the remaining feature at the adjacent building. The final result has fully restored the historic character of the front facade, along with the new timber sash windows and historically-accurate front door that were installed in 2017.
Near Mullingar, the sagging, under-supported roof of the c.1850 “Equine Barn” was also fully repaired. The rafters were original to the building but were undersized, allowing slipped slates, water ingress and rot to escalate in recent years. The roof was stripped and existing timbers were left in place, treated where required and sistered, allowing the historic integrity of the barn to remain intact whilst ensuring its longevity. Investigation into the existing fabric and consolidation of slate sizes and course-planning lead us to reinstate Blue Bangor slates on the east pitch, with green slates on the west, over a new breather membrane. The bottom course of slates over the wall plate were also bedded in a hot lime mix. The gabled ends were out of plumb, so rather than cutting each end slate to the same length, they were each cut to follow the line of the wall to provide a 50-75mm overhang. Historic evidence also indicated that the existing, fixed windows were not original to the property, and their poor condition informed their replacement with windows of more appropriate details. The arched barn doors were also repaired, and new doors to match the existing were introduced in pedestrian opes that were previously open to the elements. New cast-aluminium rainwater goods now properly weather the building, and a rainwater butt has improved the environmental efficiency of the barn, and supports the plant life in the adjacent walled garden.
In Dublin’s Leinster Square, the four aluminium windows on the front facade that cast a blight not only on the character of the Protected Structure but on the historic streetscape were replaced. The new timber sash windows are fully weather proofed and have done much to augment the historic milieu of this bustling area of Rathmines.
Other projects included concept generation and space planning for a Victorian house refurbishment project in Ballsbridge, conservation consultancy services for an upcoming mews conversion in Dun Laoghaire, interior design services for 4 no. apartments in Dublin’s north quays, and too many conservation reports, impact assessments and historic building inventories to count.
It has been a banner year and things show no signs of slowing down. The upcoming Historic Structures Fund and Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2019 are already generating interesting projects, and I look forward to the year ahead. Wishing you all a healthy and productive New Year!
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