Lenox Hotel, Boston

THE CHALLENGE

The Lenox Hotel is a 100-year-old, eleven-story hotel at the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets in Boston’s historic Back Bay.  It was suffering from extreme deterioration of the structural steel on the building exterior.  This type of building is a “transitional” building where the original engineers had designed a steel frame structure but were not completely comfortable letting it stand without masonry infill.  Unfortunately, all the steel is encased in masonry and thus exists in a wet environment.  This had led to rusting and, in some cases, complete disintegration of exterior steel elements that support the outside wythe of brick.

Additionally, an extremely soft mortar was used, which had allowed moisture and water into the system.  This had caused rust jacking of the steel and deterioration of the masonry over the entire building surface.  Terracotta detailing around windows and at cornices was also severely damaged.

CBI’S SOLUTION

CBI performed an extensive feasibility study and prepared numerous cost estimates for various options of repair.  The repair scenario selected included the removal of the entire exterior wythe of brick as well as all terracotta from the building exterior.  The masonry base was repaired, and all steel was repaired or supplemented and waterproofed.  The entire substrate was parged, and a waterproof membrane was installed.  New brick and stone finish was applied to the exterior with new precast or fiberglass detailing at window perimeters and cornices.  All existing windows were replaced with aluminum thermal broken high performance windows designed to match the appearance of the original historic windows.  Careful consideration was given to minimizing impact on the guests of the hotel and to lighting the building after the work was completed.