2003 Best Restoration — IMI Golden Trowel Award — Cleveland Museum of Art

5/01/2003, Cleveland, OH

Graciano Corporation has received the International Masonry Institute’s 2003 Golden Trowel Award for Significant Achievement, Preservation/Conservation for a Project Over $5 Million. The award was given for Graciano’s restoration of the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), a historic landmark, and was presented at a reception and dinner in May in Akron, Ohio. Randy von Ryan of the CMA and Hyman Myers of Vitetta, the architects for the restoration, were also honored.

The Project

Restoration and renovation of the CMA, which was built in 1916, was a three-phase project. As general contractor and masonry contractor, Graciano carried out phase one, which included: cleaning the exterior, pointing, replacing marble, patching, installing Dutchman, restoring bronze work, refurbishing window sills at the ground level, installing storm windows and bird netting, and placing lead caps on all architectural features that protrude skyward, such as water tables and cornices.

Project Manager Dave Sinclair said Graciano handled the museum building with special care. Architect’s guidelines were followed precisely, many samples were required, and because the structure is made of marble, a stone that is somewhat soft, great care was taken not to harm it, especially during cutting and pointing.

Von Ryan noted the particular challenges of restoring a museum building. “You have to be as delicate as possible with the materials—not to damage or over-clean the stone and to protect the bronze work. It’s also crucial to make the exterior walls as airtight as possible and to monitor the galleries to guard against water infiltration: there are valuable works of art behind those walls.”

“The importance of aesthetics is even greater in restoring a museum, where people who work and visit are more attuned to aesthetics and attentive to details,” added von Ryan. “In museum projects, you’re dealing with a very enlightened group of people, who also appreciate the age value of a building. A good working relationship is also crucial. Vitetta and Graciano both worked in lockstep with me in terms of design and in handling any concerns that arose.”

Graciano Corporation is known and respected nationwide for its expertise in historic preservation. Some of the company’s projects have included the Queensboro Bridge, Rockefeller Center, Shea Stadium, Almas Temple and MetLife Tower. The company has won awards from the International Masonry Institute, New York Construction News, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) and others.

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