Completed in 1931, the Carmelite Monastery is a reinforced concrete structure with a two-coat, integrally-colored, cement plaster finish applied directly to the concrete substrate. Terra cotta was used in much of the building’s exterior ornamentation, including the detailing at primary entrances and the tiles on the chapel wing and arcade roofs. Some of the monastery’s interior spaces, like the chapel, are finished with terra cotta masonry units.
Its coastal location has exposed the monastery to a harsh marine environment for over three-quarters of a century. At some point in the monastery’s life, moisture began to infiltrate several of its decorative terra cotta features, causing server cracking as corroded steel expanded within the terra cotta assemblies.
Our masons were retained by the Archdiocese of Monterey to repair damaged terra cotta features on the monastery’s façade and restore the monastery cross. Repair work on the façade entailed careful removal and disassembly of the cracked pieces of entrance columns, cleaning and a biocide treatment, reassembly using stainless steel internal components, and patching and color matching areas with material loss. The cross was disassembled and lowered to the ground for repair. After the corroded armature was replaced, the cross was reassembled. The repaired cross was cleaned and then raised to its original location.