2022 Traditional Building Conference

December 15, 2022 from 2:10- 2:45 PM ET
Kravis Center's Cohen Pavilion, West Palm Beach, FL

Join Mark Rabinowitz in Florida mid-December as a featured speaker at the Traditional Building Conference, for a two-day interactive symposium, where you will learn from best-in-class experts and practitioners about historic preservation, adaptive use, urban infill, classical design, sustainable design, building restoration/maintenance and traditional craft.

The Assessment and Treatment of Two Cast Stone Fountains from the 1920’s in Palm Beach, Florida:
Technical and Theoretical Issues in the Preservation of Aged Cast Stone.

Palm Beach, Florida became one of the premier winter playgrounds for America’s elite after it was developed in the 1920’s in a Mediterranean Revival style. Grand houses, hotels, public buildings and, particularly, fountains were built of cast stone and concrete to resemble the original Spanish and Italian stone inspirations. As these structures are approaching their centennial, the inherent vulnerability of the material: erosion of the soft concrete; carbonation of the paste and resulting deterioration of embedded iron; exposure to aerosol salts from the marine environment; damage from impact, wear and the occasional hurricane; and poor quality of previous interventions, has left many requiring substantial reconstruction. These conditions are particularly acute in fountains, where the constant exposure to chemically treated water exacerbates the issues.

This session will focus on the assessment, analysis and treatment of two public fountains there: the main fountain at the Breakers Hotel and the Town Hall Fountain by Addison Mizner, architect of many of Palm Beaches’ finest structures. After extensive study and review, both fountains were restored. This session will present the testing that was performed, the plans that were developed, and the resulting treatments, including overcoming the technical challenges of preserving the original material. One particular point of interest that will be covered is the ethical question of replication versus restoration of original materials and design and how each fountain addressed this in somewhat different ways.

AIA HSW Learning Objectives:

  • Consider the impact of climate and chemically treated water on cast stone fountains when planning a preservation project.
  • Apply lessons learned from materials testing and resulting treatments.
  • Compare and contrast replication and restoration of original materials.