Albany, NY

State University of New York, Plaza Building


The SUNY Plaza Building, a historic Gothic-style building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally constructed as the headquarters for the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company and Albany Journal. SUNY was concerned about falling hazards at the Plaza Building because the signature cast-stone elements on the building were spalling and deteriorated due to corroding embedded reinforcement, and finial elements were loose due to inadequate attachments. Leakage through the terra-cotta tourelle was also causing damage in the Chancellor’s apartments. SGH investigated the causes of deterioration and leakage.

The highly ornate granite and cast stone facade is anchored by the thirteen-story central tower and the tall, octagonal tower at the south end. Capping the central tower is a copper weather vane, which is modeled after Henry Hudson’s ship, the Half-Moon. The highlight of the south tower is the terra-cotta clad tourelle. For this project, SGH:

  • Conducted a condition assessment of the cast stone and granite facade to evaluate appropriate repairs and to assist in understanding the repair requirements due to the continued corrosion of embedded steel in the carbonated concrete
  • Coordinated mockups to evaluate the effectiveness and aesthetic impact of various coatings designed to slow the corrosion rate and extend the lifespan of the cast stone
  • Used industrial rope access techniques to inspect the weather vane and terra-cotta clad tourelle
  • Made observations of concealed conditions at masonry openings
  • Conducted water testing to evaluate the condition of the tourelle and the paths of reported leakage
  • Designed repairs to the granite and cast stone facades, replacement of the terra-cotta tourelle, and smaller repairs to the slate and copper roofs

Project Summary



Completion Date
Repair & Rehabilitation | Preservation
Building Enclosures | Applied Science & Research
State University of New York Construction Fund
Specialized Capabilities
Condition Assessments | Preservation | Environmental Simulations

Key team members

Susan  Knack-Brown
Susan Knack-Brown
Building Technology Division Head, Boston