the Colaborative Inc

Dillon Courthouse Cleaning Analysis

Client: Fuligni-Fragola/Architects & GSA-Region 2

Site: Buffalo, New York

The Collaborative completed a Historic Structures Report for the Dillon Courthouse in 1989, in which a test-cleaning program was recommended. In a subsequent contract to undertake cleaning of the building, Fuligni-Fragola Architects of East Syracuse, New York, were directed by the GSA to retain the services of a Building Conservator to monitor the test-cleaning program, and the Collaborative was awarded this contract. Ajax Smith, Inc. of North Tonawanda, New York, was the cleaning contractor retained by the GSA to execute the test-cleaning program. John Feinberg of the Collaborative designed and oversaw the cleaning program, including the methods and materials used for the various test panels, then reported on the results. Some additional areas were selected for spot cleaning appropriate to very soiled areas. In July of 1992, John Feinberg completed the one-year review of the test panels. After the year of weathering, the results were documented both photographically and in a report on the cleaning project. Based on this full evaluation of the test-cleaning program, an appropriate method was recommended for cleaning the entire Dillon Courthouse. A particular problem with cleaning the stone was its composition. It is a local sandstone, with significant pockets of minerals within the matrix. As water saturates the stone, stains from the minerals within the stone matrix are brought to the surface. Specific techniques were recommended to reduce flow through the stone from windowsills and horizontal shelves, which will reduce the intensity of deep-seated metallic stains. As is often the case, the test-cleaning program indicated that sometimes the expectation for a building to be “clean” is inappropriate, but rather the expectation of what constitutes acceptable cleanliness should be related to how clean a result can be achieved without damage to the stone.