Integrating Terra Cotta Window Mullion Repair with Leaded Stained Glass Window Restoration at St. Dominic's Church, San Francisco

December 30, 2010
Publication: Stained Glass Quarterly
Author(s): Lex Campbell

St. Dominic's Church in San Francisco, CA, is in the process of completing a multi-phased terra cotta and leaded stained glass window restoration project. With the ambitious objective of restoring more than 90% of the window openings and leaded glass window panels in the Church, the project encompasses more than 70 openings, including windows as large as the 21 x 31 ft. Christ in Glory tracery window to smaller 3 x 5 ft. arched amber glass windows. Nearly all of the windows were experiencing deterioration of terra cotta mullions that frame the lancet openings and support the Gothic tracery. Concurrently, much of the leaded glass was experiencing significant problems with lead and glazing deterioration.|Remarkable in scale for a parish of its size, the restoration project provides valuable lessons in some of the complex issues encountered in integrated terra cotta cladding and leaded glass window restoration. This paper will identify typical problems of deterioration encountered in terra cotta window tracery systems. Furthermore, it will emphasize the importance of integrating the terra cotta and stained glass setting in order to provide a watertight system. Understanding the nature of terra cotta construction; identifying underlying causes of deterioration; designing effective repairs; and planning and close coordination between trades have all contributed to a successful restoration that is now nearly complete.

Markets: Religious