22 January 2009

a prefabricated industrial building

Last year we conserved an entire building. Every remaining piece of it, in fact. There were 27 cast iron columns, some of which were broken, and 9 trusses made from a combination of cast and wrought iron elements.
Currently known as the “Grissell Building”, in acknowledgement of the original manufacturers, Henry Grissell of London, this prefabricated industrial structure was discovered on the ACI site at Alexandria. Following documentation in 1997 by Godden Mackay Logan, the Grissell building was dismantled and stored on the site for ten years. In late 2007, we were awarded a contract by Meriton Apartments to conserve all of the elements so that the building could be re-erected in a park in the centre of the site.

We worked with heritage consultants Geoff Ashley and Rebecca Hawcroft of Godden Mackay Logan and structural engineers Simon Wiltshier and Alison Naimo of Hughes Trueman to develop an agreed approach to conservation of the Grissell building. In the end, we:
  • Blasted the cast-iron columns before painting with a zinc-rich epoxy primer and 2 pack polyurethane topcoat
  • Repaired the three broken columns by pinning the pieces to a new galvanised steel CHS installed inside the columns
  • Undertook various other repairs to the cast iron columns, including casting new capital plates
  • Deconstructed the trusses to straighten the wrought iron angle and flat bar tension members
  • Cast new compression strut members to replace broken or missing pieces of the struts
  • Installed new purlin angle supports to carry a new roof
  • Blasted and painted the trusses to match the columns
We were assisted with this work by Wrought Artworks (trusses), Traditional Stonemasonry (columns) and IMP Coating (blasting and painting).

The project had many challenging moments. The transport and hoisting of the nine roof trusses, which are quite lightweight, and therefore very flexible, caused us some of the most nerve-wracking moments.

The reconstruction of the Grissell building is now completed, with additional new roof truss components to help interpret the original configuration of the building. It is located in the public park between South Dowling Street and Broome Street, and serves as a shelter and seating area in the park for residents of the surrounding apartments.

Drop in and enjoy the delicate tracery of 19thC cast and wrought iron work sometime.

David West
International Conservation Services

Christo visits Frank Stella?

Observant passers-by in George Street, Sydney may have noticed the three giant Frank Stella artworks in the lobby of Grosvenor Place are currently swathed in plastic. No, Christo has not been in town. But we have been wrapping the artworks, so as to protect them whilst the floor is re-laid.
Entitled "Pillars and Cones" these three paintings are part of a series that Stella created between 1984 and 1987. These three were specially acquired for Grosvenor Place by Harry Seidler, the building’s architect.

They were painted in New York using oil paint on magnesium, an effect that allowed the surface to be etched and provide a distinctive sculptural quality, and were then shipped to Australia. Unfortunately during or after shipping the container they were in was partially filled with water, causing a major breakdown of the paint adhesion to the magnesium (and a court case resulting).
They remain the most prominent examples of Stella’s work in Australia. Stella was born in 1936, and remains one of the most significant post –war American painters who are still working.

Have a look next time you are near Circular Quay.


13 January 2009

a starting point

At International Conservation Services, our wonderful team of conservators regularly tell me how proud they feel about working on the many fascinating objects and places that we conserve or consult on. Indeed, many of our projects involve items of enormous cultural or heritage significance.

Our conservators apply their skills to care for all manner of heritage objects and materials. They also provide advice to our clients on how best to care for and manage their collections.

The purpose of this blog is to tell you some of the stories that we contribute to; to share with you some of the wonderful objects and places that we are proud to work on; and to open a small window for you to look into our world.

I'm looking forward to sharing our world with you through this blog. But if you can't wait, you can find out more about us from our website.