The Investigation of Buildings: A Guide for Architects, Engineers, and Owners

  • Old Structures Engineering


An experienced investigator explains why buildings should be inspected, what to look for, how to do it, when to hire a professional, and how to understand what architects and engineers are talking about once a survey has been carried out. The scope includes ordinary wood-frame houses and small commercial structures as well as larger buildings.
This research examines the use of concrete as an expressive structural material in the last work of Gilbert Stanley Underwood at Jackson Lake Lodge, which was completed in 1955, and identifies a strategy for its conservation and overall preservation. As the primary building material at Jackson Lake Lodge, concrete was used not only structurally but also treated decoratively as the exposed surface finish. A discussion of the concrete and its finish includes: structural concrete practices as described in trade journals, building standards, and similar publications contemporary with Jackson Lake Lodge (post-WWII); historic finish treatments for concrete in comparison with “Shadowood”; and acid staining: its use, composition, and application procedure. In addition to extensive archival research, instrumental analysis of concrete samples, with and without finish treatment, was performed using optical microscopy, ESEM/EDS, and XRF. Analysis of the resulting spectra informed a characterization of the historic acid stain, which were compared with spectra for modern acid stains produced by the same company that supplied the stains in 1955. A preliminary condition survey was conducted onsite to verify performance and deterioration of the concrete and acid stain finish. A conservation program is necessary for the continued preservation of the Lodge, in this case, the character-defining aspect of the exterior, namely the “Shadowood” concrete. Based on the research and analysis performed, it is recommended that successive coloring campaigns and restoration work consider the original design intention and allow for the application of appropriate repair materials without compromising the material or its aesthetic.
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