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Field Studies 01 - Fort Pike and St Joe Brick Works

Field Studies 01 - Fort Pike and St Joe Brick Works

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Published by Anthony
from Studio in Building Preservation, Spring 2010, Master in Preservation Studies, Tulane School of Architecture, Professors Gene Cizek, Mark Thomas, and Heather Knight
from Studio in Building Preservation, Spring 2010, Master in Preservation Studies, Tulane School of Architecture, Professors Gene Cizek, Mark Thomas, and Heather Knight

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Published by: Anthony on Aug 13, 2012
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Field Studies
Fort Pike and St. Joe Brick Works
Anthony DelRosarioStudio in Building PreservationProfessors G. Cizek, M. Thomas, and H. KnightMaster in Preservation StudiesTulane School of Architecture
 
1 PRST 6510 - Studio in Building Preservation G. Cizek, M. Thomas, H. Knight Feb. 26, 2010Anthony DelRosario – Master in Preservation Studies - Tulane School of Architecture
On February 19, Studio in Building Preservation made our first field trip of thesemester to Fort Pike and St. Joe Brick Works. This trip was made in coordination withthe lecture from the previous night about masonry conservation at Fort Jefferson. Thepresentation featured five guest lecturers involved with the preservation of FortJefferson in the Dry Tortugas of the Gulf of Mexico about 70 miles west of Key West,Florida. The five represented several aspects of the second phase of preservation ofthe fort: the National Park Service (NPS), the property manager; Lord Aeck & SargentArchitecture, the project planners; Stone and Lime Imports Inc., the project contractor;Highbridge Materials Consulting, the materials analysts; and St. Joe Brick Works, themasonry supplier. Fort Jefferson, one of the largest forts ever built according to theNPS, was constructed over thirty years from 1846 to 1875 as part of the Third Systemof seacoast defense in the United States. This massive masonry fortification, known asthe Gibraltar of the Gulf, has been exposed to a severe marine environment for over150 years. According to Kelly Clark of NPS, the salt, wind, and heat have lead toseveral problems of deterioration: corrosion of iron Totten Shutters; brick and mortarerosion; and collapsed masonry at the parapet. The wrought iron Totten shutters,designed by General Joseph Totten to open upon the firing of the cannon and thenimmediately close, have expanded from the salt in the air and have caused theembrasures to crack, crumble, and fall into the moat. Phase I, which took place in theearly 2000s to serve as a guideline to the future bigger restoration phases, consisted ofmaterials analysis, replacing one Totten shutter with more weather resistant materials,and re-bricking part of the scarp wall. The lecture showed many lessons learned andnew processes to apply towards Phase II. I found the presentation engaging with the
 
2 PRST 6510 - Studio in Building Preservation G. Cizek, M. Thomas, H. Knight Feb. 26, 2010Anthony DelRosario – Master in Preservation Studies - Tulane School of Architecture
explanations from the different parties involved. The scientific illustrations from thematerials analysis were interesting. I also found interesting how preservation practicesat Fort Jefferson changed in a short time between Phase I and Phase II.At Fort Pike in Eastern New Orleans where Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Borgne,and the Rigolets meet, Studio in Building Preservation were able to see a masonryfortification smaller than Fort Jefferson but facing similar problems. Fort Pike was alsobuilt as part of the Third System but at the beginning of the period from 1819 to 1827 asopposed to Fort Jefferson built towards the end of the Third System period. Fort Pikewas designed by Napoleon’s former Chief of Artillery Simon Bernard while FortJefferson was designed by U. S. Army Chief Engineer General Joseph Totten. FortPike has some problems with cracks in the scarp wall at the embrasures (Fig. 4) that wecould see from the entrance bridge. Also, all three corner bastions show severedamage. Our tour was conducted by a very enthusiastic park employee, Jordan, who iscurrently working on a Master degree in History at Southeastern University inHammond, Louisiana. A very interesting fact that Jordan told us was that the fort wasbuilt on a platform of cypress timbers so that the fort would have a firm foundation butalso could rise and fall with the tide. However, during construction the outer wall wasconnected to the inner part that was supposed to remain separate in order to takeadvantage of the cypress timber platform and this error has caused severe damage.Also according to Jordan, during Katrina the fort was filled with water plus had fifteenfeet of water above the top (Fig. 1). Having filled up with water before the most severesurges helped prevent the fort from suffering more damage. Through his exploring ofFort Pike, Jordan has found bricks stamped with names from at least five places

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