Public Bath Number 7

via the 1910 edition of Brickbuilder

This building was completed in 1910 as Brooklyn’s Public Bath No. 7, and was described as being the most ornate public bath in the borough. It is a city landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The facade is a combination of glazed brick and terra cotta, with multistory arched windows. The ornament is based on the theme of water. An inspection of the of the projecting cornice and parapet wall showed movement of the terra cotta units outward, leaving large open joints. Inside the soaring space on the second floor, the perimeter steel columns were visible, but the upper portions, and the roof spandrel beams, were not. Upon removal of the terra cotta units (some for salvage, some to be replicated), the reason for the deterioration became obvious. The upper steel columns and spandrel beams were badly corroded, necessitating the installation of shoring to temporarily support the roof. 

View of an original rusted steel column with shoring

Old Structures designed steel repairs that would not completely halt the other portions of the project. The built-up columns are very slender and tall, which implies the masonry walls (brick and terra cotta) were sharing lateral load with the columns to some extent. The columns had been encased in brick keyed into the facade as a way of bracing the masonry. The solution was to abandon the existing columns in place and to erect new steel columns on either side. Spandrel beams were replaced and the load transferred to the new steel structure. The masonry was reinforced across the bed joints and perpendicular to the wythes of brick to stiffen the walls at the column locations where it is tied to the new steel. 

New steel columns on either side of existing column

This project received a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award in 2018.

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