In the 1890s, the C.B.J. Snyder-designed, Bayard Taylor School (PS 158) opened on the Upper East Side and has since welcomed and educated generations of school children. One of hundreds of school buildings that organize and delineate New York City neighborhoods, these buildings not only serve our communities but embody the promise of education for all.
Fast-forward a century later, add in a history of patchwork repairs, deferred maintenance, and a fateful decision to remove, instead of repair, a monumental projecting cornice, and the result was serious deterioration of the building’s façade and interior finishes. Nelligan White was commissioned by the NYC School Construction Authority (NYCSCA) to document the extent of deterioration and develop a plan for restoration.
Our team observed water penetration and damage to interior finishes throughout the building. This was due to a combination of modern masonry repair failures and deterioration of backup masonry and mortar that should work as a “skin” to protect the building. Additionally, the removal of the original projecting cornice had the unintended consequence of exposing building infrastructure to the elements and accelerating masonry deterioration. Once all damage had been recorded and mapped, we recommended replacement of all exterior masonry along with the stabilization and repair of all backup masonry.
To address building issues, all face brick was removed and replaced with new brick that replicated the original look of the brick from the 1890s. Behind this new brick, a vapor barrier was applied and a narrow-cavity drainage plane was installed to create a protective barrier. A replica of the original cornice was installed using modern glass fiber reinforced concrete. Our team also replaced the roof and cleaned the building’s original stonework. This project resulted in the restoration of a beautiful, Beaux-Arts style school that will be resilient for generations to come.