Conservation Solutions, Inc: Art + Architecture + Artifacts

Ornamental Terra Cotta Restoration - Ringling Museum of Art

Ca d'Zan, Sarasota, Florida

Conservation Solutions, Inc. (CSI) was contracted by the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL to restore the terra cotta ornamentation on the cantilevered balcony located on the Ca d’Zan mansion. Completed in 1926, Ca d’Zan was the final resting place of John and Mable Ringling; the balcony extends from John Ringling’s private quarters and is visible from a dock that is built out over the Sarasota Bay. The exposure to the salt spray from the Bay in conjunction with strong infrared radiation from the sun resulted in corrosion of embedded metal structural supports and subsequent cracking and spalling of terra cotta units. Despite several previous conservation campaigns, the deterioration has persisted, proving the need for more extensive conservation intervention.

CSI assessed the entirety of the terra cotta adorning the Ca d’Zan in 2015 and made recommendations for stabilization and treatment of the balcony.

The first stage of the treatment was carried out in July 2016. The balcony was carefully disassembled and exposed steel outriggers were cleaned of corrosion and sealed to protect from the environment. Stable terra cotta was soft packed and transported to off-site storage. Cracking terra cotta units were removed for repair and will be replicated according to a new design allowing for thermal expansion during extreme temperature fluctuations. The building’s façade was patched and painted to match adjacent paint color. Reassembly of the balcony is scheduled to take place in Summer 2017.