Hollywood, Los Angeles County,
Brick and terra cotta veneer materials had deteriorated or been modified to the point that a complete restoration and rehabilitation was required.
The 'improvements' suffered by this structure were visited upon the lower levels of the building, where the original terra cotta facade was removed or covered over with a severely simple cement stucco veneer, a euthanizing decorative scheme. Note the difference where the original terra cotta resumes at the second floor level.
As with most of our exterior projects a thorough cleaning of the veneer was the first place to start, in order to get a clear picture of the surface conditions under all that dirt. All our work had to be conducted using boom lifts since the building's architecture would not allow the rigging of suspended swing stages.
We used a mild acid-based cleaning compound with a low-pressure electric water blaster to eliminate potential damage to the glazed terra cotta skin. Note the difference in appearance between the cleaned material at the bottom of the image and the uncleaned coping towards the top.
When the cement stucco was stripped away from the lower levels, we found that about one-quarter of the original terra cotta was still in place, but the original surfaces had been chipped with hammers to roughen the surface for better adhesion of the stucco. We patched and recreated the mottled glazed surface using specialty repair mortars designed specifically for terra cotta repairs.
Where original material was completely missing, we utilized GFRC units made from molds taken from the surviving terra cotta at the upper levels, so that texture and shape of the new units matched the original as closely as possible.
These units could then be installed by attaching the integral steel anchors to the supporting structure.
Field trimming and cutting of the GFRC material was a constant activity to ensure proper fit in the finished installation.
Careful alignent of the newly installed pieces made it possible to complete the surface infill with accuracy.
When the last units were installed, all new GFRC units and repaired original terra cotta were coated with color matched epoxy-based coating to ensure a visual match, and also to protect the new and repaired masonry surfaces from moisture penetration.
What a difference in appearance, now that the original design is back in place!
The Christie Hotel has been returned to its place of prominence on Hollywood Boulevard.