Corbin Building

Ornate and slender 19th century terra cotta building.

Built by its namesake Austin Corbin (1827-1896), this slender, 19th century building was designed by architect Francis Hatch Kimball (1845-1919) and construction was completed in 1889. Kimball specialized in utilizing ornate architectural details for various revival styles, and terra cotta provided him with the ideal material to decorate his buildings. Western was tasked with the complete restoration of the ornate terra cotta, as well as the rest of Corbin’s historic exterior, which is adorned with brick, cast-iron window bays, and brownstone.

The scope of work included documentation and assessment of each individual terra cotta unit (over 2,000) and cast-iron part (over 1,000) on the building. Terra cotta units and iron parts deemed beyond repair were slated for replacement with original models from the building, which were removed for precise replication. Other highlights from the project scope include comprehensive facade cleaning, 100% re-pointing of all brick and terra cotta units, complete rebuilding of the highly ornate brick and terra cotta parapet wall, building new brownstone storefront entrances to match original construction, as well as restoration of the building’s main staircase with bronze-plated cast-iron panels, mahogany handrails, and marble wainscoting.

This project was awarded the “Lucy Moses Award for Historic Preservation.”


  • Restore the terra cotta and the rest of the brick exterior adorned with cast-iron window bays and brownstone
  • Assess each individual terra cotta unit (over 2,000 total) and cast-iron part (over 1,000) – those that were too damaged to repair, were removed, models were made to replace them
  • Clean the facade
  • Re-pointing of all the brick and terra cotta units
  • Rebuild the ornate parapet wall and build new brownstone storefront entrances to match the original construction
  • Restore the building’s main staircase with bronze-plated iron panels, mahogany handrails and marble wainscoting


  • Building located in a busy, urban environment
  • The historic exterior needed to be matched exactly and replicas of 19th century materials were created to do so

Completed December 2012

MLK Federal “Timeline” Building

Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building in downtown Atlanta is a working symbol of our nation’s 20th century storyline.

Designed by legendary Southern architect A. Ten Eyck Brown, the original purpose of the 1933 granite, marble and masonry building was as a central processing facility for the fast-growing U.S. Post Office. The craftsmen who built the “state-of-the-art” structure were employed through the Depression era’s Work Projects Administration (WPA). Some 35 years later, it became the first federal building in the nation to be dedicated to the memory of slain civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr.

Western Specialty Contractors' Atlanta branch recently helped restore the historic structure for 21st century service. Current tenants include an array of federal agencies, including Homeland Security, Immigration and the ICE police force.

Western’s scope of work involved removing existing facade stones at shelf-angle floor lines and other select areas, making certain each stone – some 6,000 across two phases – was tagged and cataloged for exact replacement. Substantial repairs were to be made to backup walls, angle flashing installed, and parapet walls torn down and rebuilt. All windows, inside and out, were to be stripped of lead-based paint and repainted. A total of 106 windows were to be built to match, replaced in their entirety and sealed for protection against the elements.

Like most major projects, this one came with a number of challenges. The existing roof system was to be removed and replaced with a ballast and paver perimeter system. Two elevations had elevated plaza decks that prohibited any weight being transported across. Limited storage at the project meant all materials had to be delivered to the branch and redelivered to the site. Moreover, all work was to be performed with the building fully occupied and stringent noise perimeters in place.

With scaffolding and mast climbers in place, Western’s crews of up to 40 craftsmen have tackled the complex and historic task. The three-year project will see completion by year-end 2008.

55 Water Street

Privately held office property made up of two buildings, totaling three million square feet of leasable space. Complete building facade restoration in New York City.


  • Seal windows with silicone tape at perimeters
  • Install custom silicone boots at window washing rack and stack joints
  • Remove and replace precast concrete and precast concrete sealant
  • Apply protective coating of elastomeric silicone to protect precast concrete


  • The Water Street Office buildings combine to total over three million square feet of leasable space making this a very large project
  • Western needed to develop and implement a testing program to ensure that all of the products were installed according to published procedures