August 12, 2015 | John Berendzen | Local / Regional, Preservation, Sustainability


When UMB Financial Corporation decided to make a substantial investment in their Ferguson, MO branch in the summer of 2015, they turned to FoxArchitects to advise them in the specifics of the building’s historic masonry repairs.

In collaboration with the bank’s selected building envelope restoration company, Western Specialty Contractors, I reviewed the discovery findings made by Western, and contacted The Indiana Limestone Institute of America for technical discussion of re-pointing of the stone façade (much of which dates to the bank’s construction in 1902) including mortar-type selection and techniques of combating “rising damp” –the capillary movement of moisture from the ground up into the walls of buildings. Understanding the science of maintaining the integrity of an historic masonry building envelope has always fascinated me, in no small part due to living most of my life within the extents of pre-war St Louis neighborhoods of triple-wythe brick masonry construction.

Every initiative taken in Preservation of our architectural heritage, such as UMB has done here in Ferguson should be applauded for favoring the Sustainable over the disposable, and promoted for the Leadership it sets in the example for other stewards of our community’s architectural heritage. As we near the start of construction next month, I look forward to seeing this prominent centenarian of the Ferguson streetscape readied for her next 100 years.

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