A conditions assessment and treatment recommendations for the main building at the Austin State Hospital

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2011-12

Authors

Russell, Mary Kelley

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Abstract

This report addresses building envelope conditions of the Main Building of the Austin State Hospital (ASH), formerly the Texas Lunatic Asylum. Designed in 1857 to be constructed in phases and follow the nationally recognized Kirkbride plan, this four-story, solid limestone wall building remained a patient dormitory for almost a century. At present, the Main Building serves as the administration building for the ASH campus but has experienced deterioration due to inappropriate repairs and neglect as a result of inadequate funding. This report provides a historical record of the Main Building, documents existing exterior conditions, discusses mechanisms of deterioration for conditions and provides selected treatment recommendations. Observed conditions include biological growth, iron staining, limestone erosion, and inappropriate repairs with portland cement.

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