Graciano Corporation Wins Golden Trowel Award From International Masonry Institute for Restoration Work At Pittsburgh Cork Factory


(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) Graciano Corporation, one of the country’s leading architectural masonry restoration firms, has been honored with a Golden Trowel Award for its interior and exterior restoration work at the Cork Factory building located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Strip District. Presented by the International Masonry Institute, the award recognizes excellence in projects that use masonry materials as primary interior or exterior finishes. The competition is open to registered architects, masonry contractors, general contractors, masonry manufacturers and suppliers.

An abandoned industrial complex that sat in ruin more than 30 years, the Cork Factory, formerly known as the Armstrong Cork Co., was rehabilitated by McCaffrey Interests of Chicago. It now houses 297 luxury apartments. Graciano was responsible for cleaning all of the two-building complex’s exterior brick masonry, stone and terra cotta surfaces. In addition, the company was charged with removing extensive accumulations of graffiti, spot-pointed masonry joints, removed and replaced damaged brick, patched or replaced stone architectural features, and repaired damaged terra cotta trim.

Midway through the assignment, Graciano was asked to assume responsibility for cleaning and repairing interior concrete and masonry surfaces. This additional assignment required Graciano craftsmen to become certified in lead abatement. They removed paint, dirt and graffiti from interior walls, and executed masonry repairs on interior brick columns. Graciano was also asked to stabilize exposed concrete ceilings throughout the complex. This job was extremely complicated, as walls, interior finishes and utilities had already been installed prior to the discovery of the deteriorating concrete. All finished surfaces were masked off, and spalling concrete was removed from existing rebar. Ceiling surfaces were then stabilized and refinished in each apartment.

Constructed in 1901 and expanded in 1913, the sprawling 440,000-square-foot complex sat dormant since 1974. Over three decades, the structures suffered from extensive deterioration and repeated acts of vandalism. The buildings were designed by the renowned Pittsburgh architect, Frederick Osterling, who also was the architect for the Arrott Building, the Union Trust Building, the Senator John Heinz Regional History Center and the Iroquois Building all well-known Pittsburgh landmarks.

Plant Construction, of San Francisco, California, was the construction manager for the assignment. Plant selected Graciano Corporation, based on he company’s expertise in restoring high profile buildings and projects around the country. Graciano also worked closely with the project’s assigned historic architect, Richard Glance, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to maintain the vintage appearance of the buildings.

“This was an exciting project for Graciano,” remarked Glenn Foglio, President of Graciano Corp. We were pleased to help bring this Strip District landmark back to life, and to improve the quality of life in Pittsburgh.

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