The six-story clock tower at Schering-Plough’s facility is a town landmark, and its preservation was therefore of critical importance to the community. When Schering-Plough observed cracking and leaks at the 1930s building, they became concerned about the integrity of the brick facade.
Hoffmann Architects began with a detailed investigation into the causes of building distress. The clock tower facade showed significant deterioration, including corrosion of steel support columns. Signs of masonry distress throughout the original portion of the building included cracking, displaced bricks, and loose and cracked mortar joints. Vertical expansion joints also exhibited failures, with dry, stiff sealant that no longer adhered properly to the substrate.
To deal with the compound moisture, structural, and aesthetic problems, Schering-Plough elected to completely re-skin the original building, including the clock tower. The entire existing facade was replaced. Exterior walls at the front entrance were redesigned to eliminate an obsolete elevator shaft, and rusted single-pane windows were replaced with high-performance ones. Insulated cavity wall construction proved both cost-effective and energy efficient, while maintaining the building’s original appearance.
One might expect such a comprehensive reconstruction to stretch out over a period of years, but usage demands placed the project on a fast-track schedule. The entire facade reconstruction was completed in less than nine months, with design documents done in just 13 days. Hoffmann Architects coordinated exterior restoration with concurrent interior fit-outs to move the project forward with optimal efficiently and appropriate integration of building components.
Ultimately, the new masonry exterior proved resilient and stately, restoring the facility’s prominence in the architectural landscape and creating a more pleasant work environment for occupants.