Design of Schematic Repairs for Cracking in a Historic Load-Bearing Brick Masonry Building

SGH Team: Xianxiu Xie, Susannah Davis, Melissa Rosa, Lauren Bouchard

2017-2018: In collaboration with Simpson Gumpertz and Heger (SGH), this student team developed schematic repair options for an unreinforced masonry building in Boston, MA. The renovated condo, which dates to the late 1800s, experiences recurring cracking despite regular repointing of the exterior brickwork.

The team assessed the building, developed a baseline structural simulation, and determined that the underlying cause of cracking was that the unreinforced masonry walls could not withstand the lateral wind loading. The team then reviewed possible repair options to provide the necessary lateral support. Informed by the cost and aesthetic requirements from the condo owners, plus feasibility information from case studies and standards, the team narrowed the options to two main categories. The team refined these design options through calculations and structural simulations; their recommended designs include replacing the arches with lintels, attaching an external moment frame, and attaching an external partially-braced frame.

The team presented their final deliverables, including architectural renderings and initial cost estimates of all three repair options to SGH and condo representatives for consideration as future repair.