The Boyle Hotel was one of the early Five-Star Residence Hotels of Los Angeles. Since then, it had undergone extensive deterioration of the brick veneer and shell, as well as wood and other media. This project involved extensive brick repointing, repair, resurfacing, and cleaning.
After cleaning bricks not coated with paint or stucco, the joints were all cut out and repointed. Where possible, we patched deteriorated bricks, if only partial loss had taken place. Nonetheless, over 2,500 new matching brick replacements were installed where salmons (inherently defective bricks) had deteriorated beyond the point of patching. We also removed a coating of cement plaster on the lower part of the building, which had been put in place to cover the deteriorating brick. This area was resurfaced, allowing us to keep the original building fabric, preferable both from an historic as well as an economic perspective.
Built in the early years of the building boom in Los Angeles that propelled a young city to more established and refined conditions, the Boyle Hotel was one of the first luxury hotels in the growing town of Los Angeles.
By the first decade of the 21st century, the building had undergone some sad changes.
In addition to a wide range of problems with the brick veneer and shell, the deterioration was extensive on wood and other media as well.
A thorough application of shotcrete walls on the inside of the URM (Un-Reinforced Masonry) addressed the primary structural problems.
The brick veneer had numerous decay issues, including a high ratio of 'Salmons' or inherently defective bricks in the overall shell.
Their softer body texture led to advanced weathering and loss of material. Soft lime mortar accelerated the moisture intrusion and resulting decay.
There was also delamination between outer and inner wythes of brick due to previous seismic activity.
The resulting loss of decorative brick was most evident around window openings
After all initial cleaning of bricks not coated with paint or stucco was finished, the joints were all cut out and repointed
Grout removal and joint prep at complex decorative areas was completed with special impact carving tools and chisels designed for stone carving and delicate masonry work.
Here is an area of completely prepped surface, ready for new pointing mortar. Note that some bricks still have residual dark staining, due to carbon exposure over the years.
Where possible, we patched deteriorated bricks, if only partial loss had taken place. Nonetheless, over 2,500 new matching brick replacements were installed where salmons had deteriorated beyond the point of patching.
The lower portion of the 1st Street elevation had been coated with cement plaster sometime in the previous 30 years, probably to cover the deteriorating bricks randomly located all over the facade.
After careful removal of the stucco coating, the resulting brick surfaces was pitted from the roughing texture installed prior to the stucco application. The taped area has been lightly resurfaced with abrasives to generate a smooth surface, in the spirit of the surrounding uncoated bricks. This solution allowed us to keep the original building fabric, preferable both from an historic as well as an economic perspective.
The grinder marks in the lower portion of the image show the first stage of resurfacing. Later abrasive work would yield the finer, finished surface.
The area of interface with the new, ground-up portion of the project was infilled with salvaged matching brick, using more contemporary masonry installation means and methods.
Another memorable aspect of the project was the abatement of lead-bearing coatings from original cast iron decorative trim.
Rather than rely on the more common method of stripping with chemical compounds, we elected to use a pneumatic device called a 'needle scaler', normally used to remove rust from ship's hulls.
This closeup shows how the needles get the old coatings successfully removed and prepares the iron surface for new paint.
Here an area is gradually being exposed.
The same area after final priming and decorative painting.
Another shot of a cast iron capital atop an engaged column, showing the thick paint coating prior to removal.
The same area after all paint has been removed.
The finished cast iron and brick-faced veneer
Before and after shots of the 1st street elevation, showing the finished brick and cast iron, as well as the new cupola at the corner.
Another example of a public-private partnership being being effectively used to contributing to the renaissance of East LA.