“As a preservationist, I felt that to lose this building would be a huge loss of cast-iron architecture for Brooklyn,” Kate Allen, the restoration company’s president, said of the Wheeler Building. “Cast-iron buildings in Brooklyn don’t get the same attention as they do in Manhattan.”
The facade of 422 Fulton street was made up of around 1,000 individual castings consisting of over 30 distinct elements. Each casting needed to be numbered and documented in a spreadsheet indicating its location, type, and whether the piece needed to be repaired or replaced. Images were taken of each casting in situ so they could be referenced later on site. The building was disassembled and the pieces were trucked to Allen Metals in Alabama. Here, the castings were stripped of lead paint and fractures were repaired with a “backer plate”.
85% of the facade consists of historically appropriate metal. The replicated dormers were reproduced using less expensive castings of glass fiber reinforced concrete, or GFRC.