The Watergate Complex Plaza Repairs

The Watergate Complex in Washington, DC includes a hotel, office building, condominiums, and retail.  SK&A’s Repair & Restoration Division provided repairs to the office building’s B-2 level retail plaza area and B-3 level parking garage directly beneath the plaza.  The B-2 level retail plaza area is leased by Penzance and the B-3 level below is owned by Watergate East, Inc. and consists of residential parking, tenant storage rooms, various hallways, and mechanical rooms.

The original waterproofing on the structural slab located below the exterior plaza topping slab is a continuous coal tar fluid-applied waterproofing system, which at the time of the repair was approximately 43 years in age.  Over the years, the original waterproofing has been exposed in isolated areas throughout the plaza, and removed and replaced with either sheet membranes or hot fluid-applied rubberized asphalt systems.

In 2012, SK&A provided construction documents and specifications related to the concrete repairs and waterproofing design for the B-2 level retail plaza and B-3 level garage.  The work was performed from December 2012 to May of 2013 and consisted of the removal and replacement of the exposed aggregate topping slab located throughout the B-2 level plaza within the retail mall area.  Once the topping was removed, the existing waterproofing was removed and replaced and concrete repairs were also performed to the underlying waffle slab.  An existing two to four inch thick decorative concrete topping was replaced in the center of the plaza with a new black, gray, and white alternating colored Miracote coating.  New waterproofing details were provided at drains and along the plaza perimeter in order to provide tie-ins and terminations, as well as to aide in drainage of the plaza.  The repairs involved daily coordination between the contractor and management in order to complete the work and maintain daily access to each individual retail store impacted by the work.

The Watergate Hotel, Building Envelope Evaluation

As a part of overall renovations to The Watergate Hotel, SK&A’s Repair & Restoration Division conducted a comprehensive condition evaluation of the iconic structure’s exterior envelope, including the building’s façade, roof, plaza, and balconies.  Designed in 1966, the contemporary building has 13 stories above ground with three levels of parking below.  The hotel is constructed of conventionally reinforced, lightweight concrete slabs used throughout, and the balconies are constructed of cantilevered concrete slabs.

The condition evaluation was conducted over several phases, including: schematic design/design development, 75% and 100% construction documents, and construction administration.  Examples of services provided during the evaluation include:

  • Review of available, original architectural and structural drawings to determine construction details related to the façade, roof, plaza area, and various site elements including, but not limited to, the expansion joints.
  • Site visits to visually examine the façade from the ground level, roof, and various balcony locations.
  • Visual observation and documentation of the façade’s condition related to cracking and corrosion and visual examination of the roofing membrane’s condition and observation for the presence of moisture beneath the membranes.
  • A sounding survey of the hotel balconies and other exposed structural systems.  

Hotel Monaco Historic Cornice Repair

Located near the Verizon Center in DC's Penn Quarter neighborhood, Hotel Monaco resides in the former US General Post Office building, a National Historic Landmark.  Built in two phases between 1839 and 1866, the original building was designed by Robert Mills, the same architect who later designed the Washington Monument. Clad in an all-marble facade, the Neoclassical and Palladian-style building was adapted into a hotel in 2002. 

On July 15, 2010, a long section of the decorative marble lower cornice, located on the building's exterior facade, suddenly fell. SK&A's Repair & Restoration Division performed an initial investigation, concluding that the failure was caused by water infiltration through cracked and open mortar joints in the parapet capstone and cornice that expanded during multiple freezing-and-thawing cycles. SK&A also identified additional nearby elements of the cornice in need of repair.

To aid in the selection of replacement marble and repair design decisions, samples of marble and mortar were collected and transferred to a specialized historic testing agency. In addition, petrographic analysis of the existing mortar was performed to determine the type, composition, quantity, and mixture ratio of the binder and aggregates. Upon completion of historic research, the source of the original marble was located in the nearby Beaver Dam quarry in Cockeysville, MD—providing an ideal match of materials as well as a savings in cost and time.

SK&A consequently managed the overall design and execution of the historic repairs. Crews in the field meticulously removed the unstable portions of cornice. In addition to the replacement of the failed pieces, further repairs were completed, including: repointing, Dutchman repairs, face patching epoxy crack injection, pinning and stabilizing of loose and/or exfoliating facade elements and general cleaning of the marble facade with the repair area.

In 2012, the completed project was awarded the National Award of Excellence in the Historic Category by the International Concrete Repair Institute.

Marriott Residence Inn, Mill Road

A 14-story, 181-key all suite hotel with gross floor area of 125,000 sf.  The first floor contains the hotel lobby, meeting rooms, public areas, services, game room, library, kitchen, breakfast room, fitness center, indoor pool, and canopy structure.

Located adjacent to the Metrorail, the building also has three levels of underground parking for 110 cars (40,000 sf).  The design of the garage is partially located under the street to avoid areas where existing Metrorail pylons exist.

Hilton Garden Inn, Air Rights Building

A 13-story, 216-key hotel with an elevated mezzanine level and one underground level.  The ground floor of the hotel contains the lobby, restaurant and entry porte-cochère.  Other amenities include a fitness center, indoor pool, business center, and meeting space. 

The mezzanine level serves as the new link between the two existing office buildings and the north and south ends of the hotel with meeting rooms also located on this level.

Engine Co. 13 and Hyatt Place Hotel, 400 E Street, SW

A 12-story, contemporary, mixed-use building that incorporates a new fire station, a 214-key Hyatt Place hotel, as well as community and retail spaces.  The fire station (22,000 sf) occupies a partial mezzanine on the 2nd floor as well as the 3rd floor, with both floors connected via an internal stairwell.  The building also has three levels of underground parking under the fire station.  

Located in Washington, DC’s southwest quadrant, just north of the Southwest Freeway, the building features separate street addresses and entrances for the hotel and fire station.  The Hyatt Place’s lobby and parking entrances is located on the 400 block of E Street SW and the fire station’s entrance and apparatus bays is located on the 500 block of 4th Street SW.

The hotel features a state-of-the-art media center, fitness centers, a coffee and wine bar, and a rooftop pool with veranda and bar.  The apparatus bays of the station include radiant-heated floors. 

The project is slated for LEED-NC Silver certification featuring a green roof space on the third floor and rooftop level.