Project Description

Stone pilaster capital replacement, Great Portland Street, London

Pilaster capital replacement in London

Pictured (on the left): The new pilaster capital that was carved and then installed by London Stonemasonry

Project summary

  • Project name: Great Portland Street

  • Service: Facade restoration

  • Location: London, W1W 8QB

  • Client: Langham Estate

  • Duration: Five weeks

After a large piece of masonry fell from the front of an office premises in Great Portland Street, Marylebone, the London Stonemasonry company were called in to survey and then restore the building’s facade.

A large piece of masonry, a pilaster capital, fell from the building during a very cold and frosty period in the winter of 2020. The capital sat atop of one of the facade’s pilasters – long rectangular supports that resemble flat columns.

The property is situated on Great Portland Street, W1, and is owned by the Langham Estate.

The Estate were very keen for us to undertake a survey as quickly as possible to ensure that no other pieces of stone fell from the building. We were able to respond quickly to their request.

Scaffolding was erected and we undertook a full examination of the building facade, producing a comprehensive photo survey for our client. The survey showed them exactly what we had found and helped them to fully understand what we were proposing.

Once the client gave the go-ahead, we designed, cut and carved a replacement for the pilaster capital that had failed, then lifted and installed it.

London Stonemasonry's design for the new pilaster capital

Pictured: London Stonemasonry’s design for the new pilaster capital

The lifting of the pilaster capital up to the 5th floor of the building was complicated by the narrowness of the central London pavement. As we could not add a lifting tower to the scaffolding, we reinforced it and created an internal tower.

The actual lifting of the stone was straightforward. We used a hoist connected to a NIKO track at the top of the scaffolding. NIKO tracks have an internal running system that allow our operatives to move heavy and delicate stones safely, at great heights.

As well as the replacement of the pilaster capital, we also repaired a lot of stonework using a combination of mortar repairs and stone indents. And we enhanced the facade with brick replacements, repointing, render removal and reinstallation.

With the additional stone repair works, and all brick and rendering works we were on site for five weeks.

The client was very happy with the results. We undertake a lot of work in the W1 postcode area of London and happily receive a lot of repeat business.

Architectural capital carving, in photos

Carving the capital stone

Pictured: Capital stone, being carved in London Stonemasonry’s workshop

Piece of the stone pilaster capital

Pictured: Piece of the stone pilaster capital, in London Stonemasonry’s workshop

Part of the capital stone being moved by forklift

Pictured: Part of the capital stone being moved by forklift, in London Stonemasonry’s workshop

Installing the stone capital into the facade, in photos

Installing the stone, five floors up

Pictured: Installing the stone, five floors up

London Stonemasonry fitting the stone into the facade

Pictured: London Stonemasonry fitting the stone into the facade

Fitting the pilaster capital into the building facade

Pictured: Fitting the pilaster capital into the building facade

London Stonemasonry's new stone in place, in the facade

Pictured: Work in progress. London Stonemasonry’s new stone in place, in the facade

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