Camden Yards Warehouse & Camden Station Museum Restoration

Location: Baltimore, MD
Client: Coakley & Williams Construction
Architect: Populous, (formerly HOK Sport)

Standing strong as a testament to the glory days of the industrial revolution and the buildings which supported and fueled that era, the stately Camden Yards Warehouse found new life and purpose with its transformation from a railroad box car storage facility into an office complex some 20 years ago. Now housing law firm offices, retail enterprises and the offices of The Maryland Stadium Authority, the building recently underwent a variety of upgrades. With the clock ticking and the calendar relentlessly moving towards the Baltimore Oriole’s home opener, there was no time to be wasted in undertaking the repairs on the 225,000 + SF building façade.

Manganaro was selected as the restoration/repair contractor for the project. The following repair scope was performed:
 

  • Brownstone repairs
  • Granite Dutchman repairs
  • Sand mastic repairs
  • Concrete and rebar repair
  • Tuck pointing of joints
  • Removal of window anchors in the façade
  • Removal of miscellaneous anchors in the façade
  • Demolition of brick and installation of new copper flashing system at all roof mechanical house locations – 11 in total
  • Caulking – windows and control joints
  • Brick sealant installation
  • Biological growth removal/washdown
  • Excavation and installation of new drainage system and foundation waterproofing
  • Removal and replacement of historic cobblestones


MASONRY AND STONE RESTORATION

With vertical access to the building façade provided by motorized lifts, the thousands of feet of tuck pointing went smoothly as teams worked their way around the building in a phased approach. Using hammers and chisels for demolition and preparation, each platform had enough space and load capacity to accomplish their day’s task without the need for a return visit. Recognizing the original mortar beds had aged over time, a special architectural mortar was used not only for tuck pointing but at all window shutter pin and sign anchor locations to assure a uniform match throughout the project. In repairing the Cherokee granite columns which are integral to the entire building perimeter at the first level, the special architectural mortar was also used to assure an even color and texture match throughout.

WATERPROOFING

Following the removal of the granite cobblestones which abut the building exterior at street level, a mini-backhoe was deployed to excavate to a depth of four feet along the building perimeter. Following the removal of the soil, crews cleaned the existing exterior wall and applied a cementitious parget coating. Next a sheet waterproofing system was installed and then protected by foam insulation board.
Caulking of hundreds of window perimeters provided assurance that moisture infiltration would not occur at these locations.

CHALLENGES AND UNFORESEEN CONDITIONS

A particularly challenging aspect of the waterproofing effort occurred when tasked with flashing the parapets of the eleven mechanical rooms on the roof. This procedure involved demolition of the top coarse of brick on all eleven mechanical house parapets and installing a new copper flashing system. While the work itself was not difficult, it so happened that cell phone towers had been installed on all eleven mechanical rooms. Prolonged exposure to the energy field surrounding cell towers is unhealthy, and this affected the pace of production in completing the work. It was not possible to work longer than twenty minutes at each location before having to then remove oneself for health and safety reasons.
Another challenge which had the potential to wreck havoc with the time sensitive schedule, was the discovery, post bid, that there were literally thousands of façade anchors which were not indicated on the plans and yet became part of the scope of the assignment. Fortunately the crews were able to incorporate this unforeseen work into their already charted phasing plans with no impact on the existing schedule.
As mentioned at the outset, there were multiple upgrades being performed on the Camden Yards Warehouse, with the masonry, stone and waterproofing upgrades only part of a larger project. Staging the masonry and stone façade work so as to not interfere with the roofing contractor proved to require exacting communication and coordination of vertical access schedules. Additionally, with a canvass canopy being installed around the building and  the sub grade waterproofing work taking place directly below the awning installation, schedule coordination and clear lines of communication had to be in place at all times.