Northridge Cooperative Section III
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, and when it comes to the gritty charm of some New York high-rises, you can’t judge a building by its brickwork. The beautiful façades of the 400-unit, six-building Northridge III co-op complex in Jackson Heights, Queens, hid a serious leakage problem.
The board selected MJM+A Architects to find the source of the leaks and design a way to ameliorate it. Ryan Scipione, a partner in the firm, says they discovered that when the nearly 50-year-old complex at 3220-3242 89th Street was constructed, the builders “spaced the [facer] blocks out significantly, so there were huge openings in the wall behind the brick.” They reported to the board that this was one of the causes of the leaks, which had spread throughout the complex.
The walls, windows, and a garage roof needed work. All six buildings in the complex were repaired. In some, façades were torn off and vapor-permeable membranes added on the facer-block walls to prevent future moisture infiltration. A relieving angle – a steel framework – was installed behind some of the façades.
“It will help support the weight and expansion of the bricks for a long time, while the rest of the wall starts to wear out,” explains Michael Macaluso, the founding partner of MJM+A.
Some of the draftier windows had to be replaced, and an advanced self-healing membrane was installed around the new windows that was able to resist punctures made by screws or other construction tools. It also kept the moisture out. A garage roof, which was hit hardest by the leaks, was demolished and replaced with a new one. The architects also developed drainage plans, including a new system for the garage roof.
The 12-member board was very hands-on, especially the president and the vice president, says Pamela DeLorme, president of Delkap Management and the longtime manager of the complex. She notes that the duo met with architects and the contractor every Wednesday to review the job’s progress.
For these meetings, Macaluso posted diagrams of the work areas in the Northridge III management office. He would indicate on these what was finished and what conditions were discovered when the bricks were removed. This made everything very clear to the board. “Macaluso was meeting with us every week to show us what needed to be done and why,” says board president Bernard Smyth, “and when it was all over, we could see the difference ourselves.”
He is pleased with the project, which cost $1.4 million, was funded through the reserves, and took seven months to finish. “Everyone seems very happy with the work,” Smyth says. “And, even with the weather we’re having, the people who were reporting leaks aren’t reporting them anymore. So I’m happy, too.”
Jackson Heights, Queens
Renewing brick façades
Demolishing and replacing garage roof
Replacing some windows
Michael Macaluso and Ryan Scipione of MJM+A Architects
Bernard Smyth, board president
Pamela DeLorme of Delkap Management
KNS Building Restoration
Johns Manville Insulation and Roofing
Estimated market value: $19,067,000
Assessed value: $7,343,730
Project start date: June 2013
Project end date: January 2014