WJE Receives Philadelphia Preservation Honor Award

April 8, 2010
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia will present the 2010 Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award to the Kimpton Hotel Palomar at the seventeenth annual Preservation Achievement Awards luncheon on May 12, 2010. The organization will honor the project and its design team for the adaptive reuse of the hotel. Gensler & Associates Architects, the architect of record, engaged WJE to act as the primary exterior restoration consultant and provide architectural- and engineering-related design services to the once obsolete office building.

The Architects Building, a 1930's historic art deco high-rise in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood and part of a National Historic District, was the longtime home of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The building had suffered from decades of deferred maintenance and was in need of comprehensive repairs. With an interest in entering the Philadelphia market, Kimpton Hotels purchased the building with the goal of converting it into a four star hotel. Kimpton initiated a comprehensive interior and exterior restoration of the building.

WJE conducted a prepurchase condition survey of the building envelope, which identified the need for extensive stabilization efforts. The WJE project team developed repair documents to address noted deterioration. They observed spalled terra-cotta, corroded support steel, cracked brick masonry units, and deteriorated mortar joints. As a result, the facade underwent both an exterior and interior rehabilitation. WJE developed exterior envelope repairs to address severely cracked brick and spalled terra-cotta. WJE also oversaw rehabilitative efforts to the original bronze storefront and associated travertine transom panels. The original dilapidated steel-framed windows were replaced with energy efficient insulated units.

WJE directed a peer review of the roof and window details developed by Gensler to verify that project goals were met in relation to the building envelope design. WJE also provided on-site construction observation of the repair work to help ensure that the level of workmanship was consistent with the design intent conveyed in the contract documents. The Hotel Palomar, which opened to the public in October 2009, is the first LEED-certified hotel in Philadelphia.

About WJE
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE), is an interdisciplinary firm of architects, structural engineers, and materials scientists that specializes in the investigation, analysis, testing, and design of repairs for historic and contemporary structures. WJE focuses on delivering practical, innovative, and technically sound solutions across all areas of construction technology. Since the firm's founding more than fifty years ago, WJE specialists bring the collective experience gained from conducting more than seventy-five thousand investigations worldwide to every construction challenge. WJE combines state-of-the-art laboratory and testing facilities, nationwide offices, and knowledge sharing systems to provide solutions for the built world. For more information, please visit wje.com.

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