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Contact: Jane Cowley, 215-597-0060
Award honors excellence in historic preservation during rehabilitation project
PHILADELPHIA– On September 25, the historic preservation staff at Independence National Historical Park and contractors on the project team will be awarded the 2015 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Construction Award for the recent rehabilitation of the Merchants' Exchange Building. The project team will receive the award on behalf of the park at a ceremony on September 25 in Harrisburg, PA.
The majority of the Merchants' Exchange Building is constructed with Pennsylvania blue marble, which is a naturally soft and porous material. The column capitals on the east and west elevations are carved from Carrara marble. Both types of marble had deteriorated significantly over time due to several factors, including their composition, weathering, temperature changes, and pollutants in the air and from vehicle exhaust in the building's urban location. The conservation work was done on site in a public area where visitors could see and learn from the conservators as they applied the treatment.
"The Merchants' Exchange Building is considered the finest example of Greek Revival architecture in North America;it's listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places as a contributing structure to Independence National Historical Park, and has been designated a National Historic Landmark," said Charles Tonetti, Independence NHP senior historic architect. "The methods we used for this project protect both the building and the safety of the public and occupants, and allow Strickland's original design intentions to be preserved."
Previously tested stone conservation methods including laser cleaning, water misting, grout injection, and ceramic pining were incorporated into the construction work. Areas identified as being in danger of failure were re‐secured;the cupola was rehabilitated;antefixes were removed, conserved, and reinstalled;and the stabilization of deteriorating marble elements was completed in an effort to slow the rate of future loss. These interventions protect both the building and the safety of the public and occupants, and allow Strickland's original design intentions to be preserved.
Pennsylvania's Historic Preservation Awards continue a tradition started in 1979 to honor excellence in historic preservation. Independence NHP is being awarded this recognition for the recent rehabilitation work at the Merchants' Exchange Building.This National Historic Landmark was designed by William Strickland and built between 1832 and 1834.The Merchants' Exchange Building housed commercial houses, marine insurance companies, the Philadelphia Board of Trade and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange from its completion in 1834 and now serves as the park headquarters.
For images of the project and its results, please contact e-mail us or 215-597-0060.