CORPUS CHRISTI BEGINS SOUTH TOWER RESTORATION
High Profile Project Expected to be Completed by Year’s End
Buffalo, New York – Corpus Christi’s historic restoration is about to take a tremendous step forward with the announcement that repair and rebuilding of the church’s south tower is expected to begin in August.
The proposed project is Phase II of a multi-phase, multi-million dollar program to restore the main components of the church’s exterior envelope. A Facility Assessment Report of the Campus in 2004 and an engineering report on the bell/clock towers in 2006 documented most of the required work. In each case, extensive stone restoration consisting of re-pointing and re-building some areas to prevent weather infiltration was recommended. In addition, the 2006 report emphasized the need for structural repairs to address the deterioration of the wood and steel sub frame, and stone around the base of the towers’ copper domes.
The scope of work is based on the need to correct damage from a wind storm in December 2008, along with diminished structural integrity of the cupola related to its age and exposure to the elements. While intermediate steps have been taken to ease these situations for the short term, they are temporary, “band-aid” solutions that must be addressed in a much more comprehensive manner for public safety and the long-term stewardship of the church.
The masonry restoration will entail re-pointing open mortor joints, removal of loose stone fragments, replacement of missing stone pieces, and the application of stone consolidation. The tower’s copper dome will be removed from the tower by mid-August and will be restored on-site, with repairs to the stone mounting points and structural framing. The badly deteriorated copper cladding will be replaced. This undertaking is essential to reverse significant deterioration and potentially much more costly remediation to the church exterior, which threatens the building’s long-term structural integrity, and ultimately its magnificent interior decoration.
Hamilton, Houston, Lownie Architects LLC, along with Tredo Engineers PC and the construction firm of Allstate Development have been awarded the work for this significant phase of the restoration. All needed work will be performed in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties.
The south tower restoration is Corpus Christi’s second high profile project to be undertaken in 2011. Earlier this year, the parish commissioned renowned art conservator Roman Kujawa to restore its iconic mural above the church altar. This exquisite artwork, which is a signature element of the church interior, is a rendering of a Vatican masterpiece by celebrated, Renaissance painter Raphael Santi. The mural restoration is nearing completion, and will be ready in time for the National Trust Conference.
The parish is now seeking donations for the restoration of the church’s north tower, as part of its long-term preservation strategy for this community treasure. For additional information, visit www.corpuschristibuffalo.org.