The McGraw-Hill Building is a 32-story, terracotta clad, Art Deco skyscraper built in 1931 and designed by noted architect Raymond Hood. JBC spent six years working on the façade restoration along with Cosmo Veneziale Architects and the contractor, Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration. JBC surveyed the façades from the ground floor to the roof, sounding every one of the thousands of terracotta blocks, and then re-surveyed to punchlist completed work. We assisted in matching the green-colored terracotta glazes and provided quality control checks for hundreds of replacement terracotta units. We also analyzed and matched the building’s original green-colored mortar, which had faded to blue, as well as matching bricks and other replacement materials.
The 12-foot tall terracotta “McGraw-Hill” sign at the top of the building had been painted over as the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company moved its offices uptown. JBC developed and tested methods for removal of the paint, in-painted glaze losses, and analyzed and matched various colored mortars to restore the sign.
JBC’s analysis of paint samples removed from the stuccoed soffits determined that these elements were originally painted a vibrant reddish orange color. A similar color was identified on the window lintels and archival research indicated that the guardrails at setbacks were once orange as well.
In the final years of the project, JBC conducted a conditions assessment and finishes investigation of the building’s Art Deco lobby, elevators, and other spaces with original finishes. We also analyzed the materials that make up the building’s enameled metal storefront and worked on a design for its restoration.
This project received a 2020 New York Landmarks Conservancy Lucy G. Moses Award.