12.31.10 The Year in Review
This has been an exciting year for Highbridge. We’ve been privileged to have been asked to provide additional work for projects we’ve been involved with for a number of years.  These include Frank Lloyd Wright’s Annie Pfeifer Chapel at Florida Southern College, Gasson Hall at Boston College, and Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park.  Of course there have been new projects and some highlights include Independence Hall, the National Gallery of Art, and plaster substrates for Mackay murals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  It’s been a great pleasure having the opportunity to work on these landmarks.  As always, we thank our clients for entrusting Highbridge with their projects and wish everyone success and good health in the upcoming year.

12.14.10 Another Year at Columbia
It’s always great fun for our staff to interact with conservation students and we had another chance this month at our fourth annual lecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation. Students in the “Concrete, Cast Stone, and Mortars” course were presented with real world materials analysis problems including distinguishing historic binders and identifying root causes of deterioration.  Plans are afoot to hold the 2011 class at our new laboratory facility next December.
11.01.10 New Laboratory Facility
Highbridge is pleased to announce its new laboratory facility in Pleasantville, NY just twenty miles north of New York City.  As of October 30, the doors have closed at the old Ossining facility and all equipment and staff have been relocated.  The new facility represents a 40% increase in laboratory space to accommodate our increasing service offerings.  The work area consists of an open floor plan where larger projects can be staged and prepped more comfortably.  Individual laboratories including the chemistry, microscopy, cement, and freeze-thaw labs have been built out around the main work area.  The larger spaces will also facilitate lectures and hands-on seminars planned for the near future.
08.11.10 New Methods
Highbridge is frequently called upon to perform non-standardized test methods.  This summer we were asked to reproduce a frost dilatometry test originally developed in Canada.  The test is used to determine the critical degree of saturation required to cause clay brick masonry to experience dilation during freeze-thaw cycles.  Other standardized freeze-thaw tests are often criticized as they subject specimens to only one saturation condition.  The new method is promising as it takes into account the permeability structure of the material.  Highbridge is now experimenting with this test for dimension stone as an alternative to other non-standardized tests used by the industry.
05.14.10 AIC Annual Conference
At this year’s annual conference in Milwaukee for the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, John Walsh gave a presentation entitled, “The Mortars and Concretes of Fort Jefferson: An examination of effective analytical techniques for unique construction materials.”  Highbridge has been involved in the project since 2006.  Though the composition of the mortar and concrete is relatively straightforward, providing estimates of original mix proportions is more complex.  John Walsh and Magdalena Malaj of Highbridge have adapted analytical methods specifically tailored for these materials.  One novel method involved hand-extracting larger cement lumps from the matrix in order to determine the chemistry of the hydrated cement directly. These chemistries were used to back calculate the design mixes.
04.29.10 Polarized Light and Cemeteries
John Walsh and Magdalena Malaj of Highbridge were privileged to attend a presentation on the petrography of brownstone by Linsly Boyer, a graduate student at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts.  Linsly is a gifted conservation student with a keen interest in natural stone used in burial grounds.  We were approached by Linsly’s professors in the winter with a request to teach a rigorous individualized instruction course in petrographic methods applied to stone.  Though an ambitious and seemingly impossible course of study for a student without a formal geological background, Linsly was hard at work on our microscopes every week for a full semester and exceeded all expectations.  It was a pleasure to have her with us and we wish her the great career success that clearly lies ahead.
03.02.10 At the University of Pennsylvania
Continuing on his mission to share knowledge with young conservators and preservation professionals, John Walsh had an opportunity to teach a full day class to graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design through the gracious invitation of Prof. Frank Matero.  Lindsay Levi was also on hand to assist the students at the microscope as they learned how petrographers identify historical binders and interpret the performance history of concrete, cast stone, mortar, and plaster through polarized light microscopy.  We thank Victoria Pingarron Alvarez at the Architectural Conservation Laboratory for moderating the class and for facilitating student questions as they continued to use the techniques in their thesis projects during the Spring semester.
02.18.10 A Best Practice Case Study
Since 2006, Highbridge has been involved with the preservation efforts at Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park.  In February, members of the project team were invited by Heather Knight of the Tulane University School of Architecture to present an AIA sponsored lecture entitled, “Preserve Fort Jefferson Phase II: A Best Practice Case Study in Masonry Conservation”.  The lecture was led by Ms. Kelly Clark of the National Park Service with Kenneth Uracius of Enola Contracting, Inc., Rob Yallop of Lord Aeck & Sargent, Pete Schneider of St. Joe Brick Works, and John Walsh of Highbridge Materials Consulting as co-presenters.  In addition to the lecture, attendees were treated to a tour of St. Joe’s Brick Works and Fort Pike State Historic Site.
01.14.10  Highbridge on a Mission
Ivan Myjer and John Walsh presented a talk entitled, “Assessment and Analysis of the Carved Stonework at the Mission San Jose” to the Boston Society of Architects Historic Resources Committee.  Mr. Myjer has been a valued friend and colleague for many years and we are grateful for being involved as part of his project team helping to determine deterioration mechanisms in the delicately carved chalk sculptures at the Mission San Jose in San Antonio, TX.  The presentation was an opportunity to reconnect with old friends in Boston and we cannot go without thanking Mr. John Wathne of Structures North Consulting Engineers and his wife Deborah Greel for hosting a delicious lobster dinner the night before at their home in Salem. 
12.15.09 In Memoriam
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dietrich Werner of the Century House Historical Society in Rosendale, NY.  Dietrich was a great friend over the years and he will be sorely missed. While he was an incredible resource as a profoundly knowledgeable historian of the Rosendale cement producing district, he will be best remembered for his welcoming heart and great humor.  Though he is too soon gone, all of us at Highbridge are thankful for the many happy memories Dietrich has left us with.
12.15.09  Highbridge in the Classroom
For the third year in a row, Highbridge was invited to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation.  This year’s lecture was presented at the “Concrete, Cast Stone, and Mortars” course co-taught by Joan Berkowitz and Norman Weiss.  Less of a lecture and more of a lively hands-on forum, the students were challenged to discover historic materials on their own under the microscope with assistance from three Highbridge staff members and three Columbia University faculty members.  For the second year, the class was hosted by New York University at their Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center.
11.05.09  APT Awards Highbridge Staff for Technical Excellence
Ms. Dorothy Krotzer of Building Conservation Associates and Mr. John Walsh of Highbridge Materials Consulting were presented with the Oliver Torrey Fuller Award for technical excellence and innovation at the APT annual conference in Los Angeles for their 2009 APT Bulletin article entitled: “Analyzing Mortars and Stuccos at the College of Charleston: A Comprehensive Approach”.  The article presents a case study where collaboration between architectural conservator and materials scientist results in an integration of historical research and laboratory science to provide effective documentation of an historic property.
09.24.09    Highbridge Opens its Doors
On September 24, 2009, Highbridge formally opened the doors to its interim laboratory facility in Ossining, NY immediately bringing on board a talented staff of materials scientists experienced in the analysis of both contemporary and historic construction materials and practices.  John Walsh, the founder and president of Highbridge thanks our clients and friends for their continued support during the past year as this new laboratory has taken shape.