Historic Gasson Hall at Boston College was built in 1913. Falling victim to the ravages of time, parts of the building were disintegrating. The damage was so severe that some pieces had begun to fall off. The decision was made to replace the original cast stone pieces with new precast concrete, an undertaking that has become the largest cast stone restoration project in North America.
Experts were dispatched to the site to analyze the structure, dismantle it and redesign each piece — all assisted by computer. The next eleven months were devoted to preparing the molds and producing the new pieces; their installation on the tower of Gasson Hall required another fourteen months. It is hard to describe all the difficulties involved in creating exact replicas of the building’s original cast stonework. Many of the details on the original parts had worn away of the years and had to be restored by hand to recreate the original appearance before the “restored” piece could be used to make a mold.
In addition, much effort was devoted to developing a concrete mix that would simulate the original appearance, provide great durability and ensure the integrity of the building for years to come. Given the constraints of the jobsite and the delicacy of the operation, a strict protocol for delivery and handling was implemented to keep track of the 3,300 pieces. By using precast concrete with its capacity for innovative treatments, Boston College was able to restore the full splendor of Gasson Hall. That is what convinced the PCI jury that the project was worthy of the 2009 Design Award for Best School.
Located on 8th Avenue between West 31st and 33rd Streets, Madison Square Garden (MSG) was built in 1968 on the site of the old Pennsylvania Station. MSG is the busiest sports and entertainment arena in the United States and features various sporting, cultural, and entertainment events. Home to the New York Knicks, Liberty, and Rangers, it is now the second oldest arena in the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League. The company that owns MSG, has been interested in improving the existing arena or building a new one for years..
The $500 million renovation planned for MSG is expected to be complete by the 2011-2012 Knicks and Rangers season, with no disruption for either team along the way. Renovation plans include doubling the size of MSG’s 7th Avenue entrance and concourses, though the building’s footprint and seating capacity will stay the same (around 20,000 fans, depending on the event). Improvements include better seats, improved sight lines, expanded restroom facilities, new concessions, revamped locker rooms, and a new Upper Party Deck near the ceiling. Whereas the current interior of MSG locates all 89 luxury suites at the top of the arena, the renovated MSG will include three layers of 125 box suites, with 20 located at the playing surface level. Almost all of the renovations will occur on the interior, though some exterior work will be done to allow views of the city from the concourses. This means precast will have to be installed through the top of the MSG.
The Saint-Jude is a project of residential apartments for retired people that will fill a growing need for this type of facility in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region.
BPDL is contributing to the project as part of its ongoing efforts to support local development. The concept and design have been developed entirely by BPDL in collaboration with Louis-Alain Tremblay, with the goal of providing bright, pleasant and well-thought-out interior spaces.
The choice of precast concrete helps ensure the safety of the future residents, due to its resistance to fire and earthquakes. Each apartment will have a large private balcony, creating living spaces that are open to the outdoors, a unique concept for our region.
The Saint-Jude is now opened and you are invited to visit for rental or consult the website at www.lesaintjude.com