NEW YORK—The Plaza has completed an extensive exterior renovation, presenting a restored façade. The French Renaissance chateau-style hotel first opened in Manhattan in 1907.
The recent work to the façade, originally designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, included the replacement of ornamental terra cotta, as well as extensive restoration of deteriorated terra cotta, brick and marble. It also involved waterproofing and roofing repairs and a final thorough cleaning.
“An incredible amount of artful craftsmanship and painstaking work has gone into this master façade renovation, and we could not be more pleased to welcome guests into our beautifully revived masterpiece,” stated George Cozonis, managing director, The Plaza. “This project has truly restored The Plaza to its original glory, and has preserved a beloved piece of Manhattan’s history in the process.”
The two-year restoration required that original façade elements were repaired and, in some cases, recreated, requiring the use of historically compatible mortar, custom-colored patching compounds, and custom made molds. Matching the color and hardness of the mortar was essential to ensuring that the building maintained its historic look. The historic mortar was analyzed and a mortar with matching characteristics was used.
Custom molds were created from original remaining elements to retain the historical integrity throughout the renovation. The marble bosses on the 4th floor balconettes have now been replaced with new concrete molds that were casted from the remaining original marble bosses. On the 15th floor, many of the original balusters had deteriorated severely. Comprised of elegant volutes and circles, and flanked by ornate pilasters, these deteriorated balusters were replaced with custom molds created from the original pieces and matching the original finishes. Several units were hand carved to create a perfect match.
The roofs on the 15th floor balconies were restored with new “Patina Green” roofing and were restructured to facilitate proper drainage. On the Fifth Ave. façade, new copper patina leaders were installed to discharge water away from the masonry.
This extensive renovation was overseen by Howard L. Zimmerman Architects, P.C., a firm that specializes in the restoration, preservation and alteration of historic buildings. “As an architect and a native New Yorker, it has personally and professionally been an honor and a privilege to be part of the team that helped restore such an iconic New York City landmark,” stated Howard Zimmerman.