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Subject: Concrete sculpture

Concrete sculpture

From: N. J. Bud Goldstone <as768>
Date: Saturday, December 19, 1998
Isabelle Leirens <isabelle.leirens [at] kikirpa__be> writes

>Facing a case of an outside sculpture built in armed concrete, I am
>looking for examples and experiences in restoration of similar
>cases. The armed concrete shows heavy damage: disaggregation of the
>concrete, rusted internal iron structure, huge fissures, cracks,
>losing parts.

The 17 individual outdoor sculptural works which comprise the Watts
Towers of Simon Rodia built between 1921 and 1955, are constructed
of cement mortar covering steel reinforcements and wire mesh and may
be of interest to you. Conservation has been going on (and off)
since 1979. The program is managed by the Cultural Affairs
Department, City of Los Angeles. In the Los Angeles environment of
earthquakes, sun, wind and rains, the 100 foot tall sculptures have
suffered large cracks, rusted reinforcements, dislodged members and
deterioration due to age. Some of them meet your description of your

Repairs of the major cracks in the cement mortar are carried out
using workers trained by a professional conservator. A special
mixture of cement and sand, developed after testing, is used. It is
slightly weaker (10%) in strength (compression, etc) to assure that
a repeated failure will occur in the repair and not in the original
Rodia mortar. In severe examples of failures, the entire covering
over the member is opened with a diamond cutter, original mortar
sections saved and repaired, rusted reinforcements replaced wherever
necessary and the entire member is reassembled using 'before'
photographs to ensure accuracy of the repair. Since 1987 the program
has successfully repaired thousands of individual members, joints
between members and sealed more cracks than we like to think about.

Feel free to email me with any questions you may have.

N. J. Bud Goldstone, conservation engineer
Co-author "The Los Angeles Watts Towers"
Project Engineer Las Pozas & Watts Towers

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:55
                Distributed: Tuesday, December 22, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-55-008
Received on Saturday, 19 December, 1998

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