Designed by New York architectural firm Kelly & Gruzen, now IBI Group – Gruzen Samton, and completed in 1967, the Earth and Space Sciences Building houses Stony Brook University’s Department of Geosciences. The concrete facade typifies the béton brut architecture of the period, with a Modernist aesthetic characteristic of Kelly & Gruzen’s midcentury work. However, beset by water infiltration over a number of years, the building had achieved notoriety among students, faculty, and staff for leaks that frequently disrupted teaching, research, and administrative activities.
The New York State University Construction Fund (SUCF) retained Hoffmann Architects to diagnose the cause of recurrent water intrusion and to develop a rehabilitation solution. Belying a complex system of eleven roof areas, some of which are accessible from the main level, the Earth and Space Sciences Building is a utilitarian four-story structure with a penthouse, clad in a combination of cast-in-place concrete and precast concrete panels.
Developing a design solution for the Brutalist building necessitated invasive probes and environmental testing, in order to confirm the composition and condition of building envelope elements. To this end, Hoffmann Architects coordinated the services of several sub-consultants for sample collection, roof probes, hazardous material testing, ventilation system evaluation, and air and water infiltration testing. Our architects also conducted an interior finish damage survey and an evaluation of the waterproofing needs of the rooftop astronomy observatory.
To resolve water infiltration conditions, Hoffmann Architects recommended roof replacements at ten of the eleven roof areas, along with concrete repair and coating, sealant system replacement, and replacement of compromised windows. The project team, in consultation with the university’s Astronomy Department, also recommended replacement of the existing observatory, so as to protect the recently acquired telescope from water damage. Hazardous material abatement (for lead, asbestos, and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs), and replacement of damaged doors, hatches, and skylights were also included in the recommended scope of repairs.
Hoffmann Architects developed Contract Documents, assisted with contractor bidding, and provided construction administration services for the building envelope rehabilitation project.