Curtain and Cavity Walls: Preservation and Technical Considerations

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First Event Information

Title: The Hallidie Building: Rehabilitation and Repair of One of America's First Curtain Walls

Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 5:30 pm EST

Duration: 00:20:37

Presenter: Annie Lo and Elisa Skaggs


Recognized as a forerunner of contemporary curtain wall buildings and designed by Willis Polk, the National Register-listed Hallidie Building Restoration (1918) returns the integrity of the iconic façade through the repair of the curtain wall and the façade’s decorative features.

The project scope was to replace the structural steel supports of the balconies and fire escapes, which had become unsafe due to severe corrosion. Investigation of the curtain wall began in 2010 at these locations, where the supports penetrated the façade, and developed into a review that encompassed the condition of the curtain wall, including all window units and the structural T-mullions that they connect to. The decorative sheet metal, which was removed as part of the façade investigation, was also found to exhibit extreme deterioration and was thus included as part repair scope.

As a San Francisco Landmark, the repair work was required to comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will examine sensitive and compatible structural upgrades employed to stabilize and correct deficiencies in the original design of a curtain wall using the Hallidie Building (1918) as a case study.
  • Participants will assess lessons learned in the evolution of the approaches used to repair deteriorated decorative elements of the Hallidie Building curtain wall facade.
  • Participants will compare various decisions for repair as well as the pros and cons of selected treatments for the façade of the Hallidie Building.

This session qualifies for 1.5 AIA/CES Learning Units.

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