Track 3: DELIVERY – INTERVENING INTO HISTORIC PLACES / Volet 3 : Réalisation – Intervenir dans les lieux historiques

Longwood Gardens’ Main Fountain Garden: Technology Bringing Life to History

Friday, October 13
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Longwood Garden’s Main Fountain Garden located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is the jewel of the most significant fountain and garden collection in the United States. In 1931 the European inspired Main Fountain Garden debuted and in 2014, Longwood embarked on a two-year revitalization of the Garden. The design team looked to the future to honor the original vision and ensure the continued enjoyment of the fountains with the concept of “adaptive restoration” guiding thousands of design, restoration, and technology application decisions.

The primary objectives of this project were to enhance the guest experience, preserve the architectural character of the Fountain, and reconstruct and enhance the fountain design. The project included a complete restoration of over 4,000 pieces of Bianco Avorio Italian and Indiana limestone. Due to excavation and underground work, the limestone units had to be disassembled, crated, trucked to an offsite warehouse for restoration, re-created, and returned to the job site for installation.

The biggest obstacle to overcome was how to log each limestone element, track its progress throughout the restoration process, and reinstall in its exact historic location and elevation while maintaining quality control and productivity. A successful restoration project relies on comprehensive documentation and active communication among the entire project team. If there is instability in creating a common language and method of disseminating information across these parties, the project suffers. Dan Lepore & Sons Company turned to the advances in technology and digital collaboration (through tablets, mobile devices, databases, and scanners) to track the progress of each individual masonry unit from dismantlement to re-installation, archive ongoing changes to conditions and site logistics, and reduce lag times in communication and review between project members.

All stone elements were given an alphanumeric code that corresponded with its location on the site. As each stone was removed, it was numbered with permanent ink on a non-visible face and tagged with a code stamped aluminum tag. Every crate containing stone was labeled with a printed quick-response “QR” code to enable tracking. The QR code system was capable of cataloging and identifying all tagged cradles by scanning the code attached to each crate. The system recorded each stage of the stone removal, repair, and re-installation. This information was cataloged using computer software available for reference by team members.

Barcoding/QR Coding tracking of individual units of masonry proved to be successful as it automatically linked the recorder’s assigned label to the status of the unit; yet there is still room for improvement. Most of the applications in practice are not designed specifically for construction projects, let alone restoration. As the scale of projects increase, project teams rely on more advanced techniques for keeping records up to date.

Learning Objectives:

Kathryn E. Biddle

Architectural Conservator
Dan Lepore & Sons Company

Kate is an architectural conservator at Dan Lepore & Sons Company. She earned a BA in Architecture and Art History from Penn State University and a MS in Historic Preservation and Conservation Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Kate is responsible for in situ conservation treatments, conditions assessment, documentation, laboratory testing, and project management for masonry restoration projects. She is a two-time recipient of The Peterson Prize from The Carpenter’s Company of the City and County of Philadelphia. Her master’s thesis earned her The Charles E. Peterson Award for outstanding work in the specialized study of historic building technology.


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Lauren R. Shaughnessy

Architectural Conservator
Dan Lepore & Sons Company

Lauren joined as project manager with Dan Lepore & Sons and continues to foster her role as an architectural conservator. She collaborates on project bidding estimates, conducting conditions assessments, conservation techniques and repairs, and cataloging and maintaining up to date documentation throughout a project’s duration. She received her B.S. in Building Construction from Georgia Tech in 2013 and her Masters in Historic Preservation, with a concentration in Conservation from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Her master’s thesis is titled “Cataloging Built Heritage: Methods of Recording Unit Masonry for the Future of Historic Preservation.”


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Longwood Gardens’ Main Fountain Garden: Technology Bringing Life to History

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