Gothic revival

Curtis High School, New York City, is a 104-year-old school that is a New York State-designated landmark. A specially trained forensic team of architects and engineers was chosen to restore the six-building complex.

The team devised engineering systems to make the buildings safe, to right the out-of-plumb main building tower, and to transfer load-bearing from the limestone, brick and terra-cotta facades to masonry walls and steel girders. It also designed 900 separate molds to replace decorative terra-cotta facade pieces. The design effort helped re-fashion 11,500 gargoyles, grotesques, figurines and other facade pieces — all while school remained in session.

The team gutted the three-story projecting window bay in the 50,000-square-foot classroom building and inserted a structural tube system to transfer exterior wall loads back to primary concrete beams. The reconstructed terra-cotta exterior visually matches the original.

The architect for this project is STV (New York City).

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