During the summer of 2013, I was working as a Preservation Architect Intern at the WASA/Studio A Wank Adam Slavin Associates. The New York City  based firm is a well-established entity in the field of architecture and historic preservation.

My primary duties during my six week stint at the firm included working with senior personnel on preservation projects including survey work, documentation, preparation of drawings and written documents. This was a valuable experience as I was exposed to the practical side of the field and moreover, coming from India it was but pertinent that I was exposed to the manner in which built heritage is taken care of by preservation architects.. The projects that I worked on ranged varied from site inspection to carrying out local law 98/11 façade inspections and façade restorations.

While working on the buildings based in the New York City, I realized that the principal enemy of the buildings as everywhere else is water, and how a building has been designed and detailed will decide the longevity of the structure.

Chrysostom Hall in Manhattan College was the first building I engaged with. This building was constructed in 1922 and has a load bearing concrete wall structure supported by beams, clad with single wythe brick walls. In this case, the external façade of an old single wythe wall had started to detach and bulge from the concrete wall resulting in cracks at the corners of the building. My job was to document this building, reconstruct the detailed architectural and construction details and detailed skin sections of the affected walls with proposed structural changes. This included both onsite documentation, drafting technical drawings and working out the specifications for the project.

 ImageCorner view of the Chrysostom Hall

My second project was onsite documentation of the terrace of 600 Columbus Avenue. The terrace of the building had some major water related issues and it was to be re-laid. Regarding this, I accompanied my seniors from office to the site and precisely measured and located each penetration existing on the terrace and their conditions. I had to update the drawings and work out the specifications of this project. One thing that really intrigued me was the format of the specifications as back in India, I was working with specifications which were based on the old British formats. Adjusting to the local formats did take me considerable time and I am still adjusting to it, but it was a learning experience.

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Terrace view of 600 Columbus Avenue

In between the major projects, I was drawing, detailing and working out the specifications for certain projects on the instructions of my seniors. This included drawings suggesting the repairs and alterations to the existing facades of the buildings.

My final project included carrying out inspection of the fire escape staircases of the Hudson View Gardens. Hudson View Gardens, constructed in 1922-1925, is a cooperative apartment complex located on Pinehurst Avenue.

My job was to carry out visual, on-hands survey of all the fire-escape staircases, do the condition assessments of all the metal structural channels, railings and carefully document the conditions of the penetrations. This exercise was to aid in forming a comprehensive report on the existing conditions and suggested repairs on the affected staircases.

ImageWestern Courtyard of the Hudson View Gardens

I am pretty satisfied with the kind of work and exposure made available to me during my internship and would have liked to continue working with the firm during the ongoing academic semester but bowing to heavy academic load and thesis research, it would not be possible.

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