KHH Projects Selected for Historic Ithaca Award of Merit

Monday, October 15, 2018

Historic Ithaca, Inc. is a group dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of historic buildings in Tompkins County. Every year, they present Awards of Merit to projects within the county that focus their efforts on historic preservation.

Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt received two Awards of Merit in Historic Preservation for work done on Cornell University’s campus. The first project involved the rehabilitation of intricate chimneys on West Campus’ “Gothics” residence halls. When the project began, these chimneys were severely deteriorated to the point that several of them were potentially hazardous to pedestrians walking below them. We stabilized the chimneys and used as much of the original material as could be salvaged to restore the structures. We took great care to use custom-fabricated brick and precast stone elements that would preserve the original appearance of the chimneys. We also incorporated elements to ensure the longevity of the structures. The chimneys are not functional, and without fireplaces in use to keep the buildings warm, the chimneys let warm air out of and cold air into the buildings. To prevent air exfiltration, dense-pack cellulose was added at the bases of the rebuilt chimneys as well as a ventilated metal cap.

The second project consisted of the replacement of the Stimson Hall east exterior stairway. These stairs were originally constructed using Medina sandstone. Unfortunately, this material is no longer available, and not much of the original sandstone from the staircase could be salvaged. We used cast stone to replicate the original appearance of the natural sandstone. The cast stone replication not only preserved the historic look of the stairway, but it also better equipped the stairs to stand up to damage brought on by snow, ice, and salt. As part of the stairway restoration, we incorporated circulation improvements by eliminating a step in the approach sidewalk and by adding ornamental railing upgrades. This also brought the stairway up to Code.

Both of these projects were rewarding to work on. Preserving the historic visual appeal of Cornell University’s structures provided fulfilling challenges and victories. We appreciate Historic Ithaca’s recognition of these projects and hope to have another opportunity to work with and submit projects to them again.

Cornell University Gothics Chimneys

Cornell University’s Gothics Chimneys

Cornell University Stimson Hall Entry

Cornell University’s Stimson Hall East Entryway



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