Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2013 Preservation Award Winners
African Meeting House • Boston (Beacon Hill)

Second Brazer Building • Boston (Downtown)

Rehabilitation & Restoration

The eleven-story Second Brazer Building was designed by architect Cass Gilbert and constructed between 1896 and 1899. A Boston Landmark in addition to being listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this Beaux Arts-style structure is significant as Gilbert’s first major East Coast project and as one of the earliest steel-framed buildings in Boston. Prior to the rehabilitation project, much of the terra-cotta and limestone facing was deteriorated or cracked, and the limestone was soiled and stained by organic matter and, in some cases, copper sulfate. At the northeast corner, there was movement and deterioration of stone and terra-cotta masonry, which had resulted from rusting of the underlying steel frame and anchorage components. The finishes of the ornamented cresting at the 10th-floor cornice had eroded and its surface was rusted in some areas.

The rehabilitation of the Second Brazer Building required repair and replacement of deteriorated terra-cotta and limestone facing on all four elevations. More than 800 terra-cotta units were replaced, and 200 more were repaired in place. New terra-cotta units were cast to match existing terra-cotta in coloration and detail. The northeast corner of the building underwent full reconstruction to address the deterioration of the underlying steel frame. The steel was waterproofed before limestone and terra-cotta claddings were reinstalled. Cracked limestone blocks were replaced with limestone quarried in Indiana and tooled to match the existing pieces. Deteriorated windows from the third through the ninth floors, as well as tenth-floor oval windows, were replaced with windows that were custom-designed to match existing windows in size and profile. The cast-iron elements of the ornamental cresting were removed, stripped, repaired, and reinstalled with new gold-leaf coating. Marble shields with the Brazer “B” emblem were refinished and sealed, and the historic building designation above the main entrance was restored and re-gilded. The careful rehabilitation of the Second Brazer Building ensures that this significant and elegant property will continue to enhance the city for years to come.

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