Friday, July 19, 2013

Back in Print

It's been a long time since we've blogged here, but we are back with exciting news about our firm's activities. We wanted to begin by discussing our involvement with the preservation of the Miami Marine Stadium- a 1963 building by architect Hilario Candela that was the nation's first purpose-built grandstand for watching speedboat racing. The building is in the process of being saved by Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium, a non-profit that has doggedly pursued its rescue from demolition by neglect. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been championing this project as well, calling it "a masterwork of civic architecture and modern construction." RLA principal Rosa Lowinger has recently been hired by the Coral Gables Museum to curate an exhibit on the stadium's past, present, and future, with special attention to how the stadium has influenced Miami style for nearly 5 decades. The exhibit will open on October 17, 2013 at the Coral Gables Museum. RLA will also be involved in performing cleaning tests on the concrete surface, including developing strategies for removing decades of graffiti and grime. We will also help develop strategies for preserving some of the graffiti-- which is considered widely to be Miami's best. Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Article on the Miami Marine Stadium

Anyone who knows me has heard me talk about the Miami Marine Stadium. A 1963 sports arena for watching boat races, the stadium was designed in 1963 by Cuban-American architect Hilario Candela. Much has been written about this exquisite masterpiece of mid-20th century exposed concrete architecture. Seen here in its current tagged and slightly dilapidated state, the building has most recently been the subject of an article by Princeton professor and engineer Sigrid Adriaenssens. Published in the International Journal of Architectural Heritage, the article deals specifically with the engineering of the hyperbolic paraboloids that comprise the roof line. I had the privilege to be a co-author on this article together with Dr. Andriaessens and Professor Jorge Hernandez of the University of Miami Architecture Faculty. My portion of the article was based on interviews with Hilario Candela, in which he described some of the architects and engineers who influenced his work. The entire article can be read online here:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Conservation of Fire Damaged Western Art

RLA Assistant Conservator Christina Varvi puts the finishing touches on the cleaning of a white marble sculpture.

RLA recently added to its growing list of post-fire recovery projects with the conservation of a collection of 23 severely soot damaged sculptures in a private Western Art Collection. Consisting primarily of wildlife and figurative works made of bronze, marble, silver, porcelain, geodes, the collection was badly soiled during an electrical fire in a kitchen that deposited thick soot onto all surfaces. RLA conservators performed the work on site in Texas, carrying out a multi-phase treatment that began with dry soot removal and continued with solvent, detergent and steam cleaning phases as needed.

Marble sculpture after initial cleaning tests.

Marble cleaning in process. The challenge in these treatments is to remove the soot without driving it into the pore structure.

Bronze sculpture with variable patina looks dull and incorrectly uniform due to soot accumulation.

Bronze sculpture after treatment. Note variation in color between areas of piece, visible only after soot removal.

Porcelain Mallard Before Treatment. Note severe discoloration on base portion due to soot ingrained in the porous surface.

Porcelain Mallard After Treatment.

Monday, February 27, 2012

RLA Awarded Contract with City of Beverly Hills

Photo: "Hymn of Life:Tulip" (Yayoi Kusama) 2007 City of Beverly Hills, CA

RLA was recently awarded a contract to perform conservation services to the public art division of the City of Beverly Hills. Our firm was selected to conduct a survey of the collection, perform remedial treatments on 5 sculptures, and provide general consultation services for the city's collection of public art. We will begin this work in April 2012. It is an ongoing contract with provisions for renewal.

We are proud to add the City of Beverly Hills to our growing client list of outdoor sculpture and public art programs. This list presently includes the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Huntington, University of Miami, Florida International University, Miami-Dade County, the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Long Beach Arts Council, the Contemporary Museum of Hawaii, the Broad Art Foundation, the General Services Administration (GSA), the Chinati Foundation (Marfa, TX), Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (Miami), and the cities of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, West Hollywood, West Covina (CA), Inglewood (CA), Santa Fe Springs (CA), and Honolulu.