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Branford College Stone and Door Restoration

Branford College is constructed with a varied use of granite, sandstone, and brick. Carved sandstone archways link three courtyards to the large central Branford Court. Over the past 90 years, the elements and salt spread to clear walkways of ice and snow have taken their toll on the stone.  Moisture wicked into the stone pulling salt with it, ultimately degrading the sandstone so severely that it crumbled to the touch.  Degradation in the form of spalling, delamination, and efflorescence was widely seen at all of the archways.

 

CWA, with consulting architect Jonathan Leavitt,  was charged with replacing the deteriorated stone while remaining historically faithful to Rogers original design in materials and execution.  Through the process of hand profiling and measuring, three-dimensional digital scans, and three-dimensional modeling, whole stones were replicated, manufactured, and installed to replace the existing deteriorated pieces.  A small granite base along with a water barrier was incorporated in order to prevent future wicking and efflorescence.  The moat walls surrounding the college on three sides were partially rebuilt and repointed.  Expansion joints were added to correct heaving and deformation of the walls.  Linonia Court had seen a lot of damage due to frost heave and thaw and improvements were imperative in order to keep the courtyard occupied and passable.  The limestone pavers were mostly replaced and cobblestone reset with a new drainage system.  A carefully designed cobblestone setting bed was laid at the base of the courtyard’s tree so not to disturb the root system.

 

Many of the college’s original plank doors made of chestnut, mahogany, and white oak had suffered deterioration, rot, and make-shift repairs over the years.  CWA restored half of the doors and trim to their original state and rebuilt the other half from repurposed antique white oak from the same era.  Hardware was carefully salvaged, catalogued, cleaned to historical restoration standards, and re-installed under our direct supervision.