While the demolition phase of the Gilman Hall
renovation rumbles on, some nimble and delicate
work on the building's glass treasures is being conducted
In November, Worcester Eisenbrandt, a building
restoration contracting firm based in
Baltimore, orchestrated the removal of 51 historic windows
from the building's Hutzler
Undergraduate Reading Room, Memorial Hall and elsewhere.
After careful extraction, a process that
took almost three weeks, the windows were trucked to the
facility where they will be restored.
Earlier in the fall, Worcester Eisenbrandt's team of
architectural conservators conducted a
detailed material-condition survey of the Gilman Hall
window openings to define the preliminary scope
of the work. The firm, which handled the restoration of the
Patterson Park Pagoda, will oversee the
restoration of all the historic windows, which prominently
feature art-glass panels and medallions.
Though not original to the building, the windows have
become iconic elements of the Homewood
campus's first academic building.
Conservators will repair chips, mend wood and metal
frames, replace hardware, seal cracks,
reglaze all windows and, where necessary, re-create lost or
damaged art. As much of the original
windows and frames as possible will be preserved.
The work, which began this month, will be done in
three phases: the negative (removing all the
"bad" parts), assessment (deciding what to put back) and
the positive (putting back repaired and
On a tour of the Worcester Eisenbrandt workshop last
week, Johns Hopkins staff and
representatives of Kliment Halsband Architects, the
renovation's architect, and construction manager
Bovis Lend Lease discussed specifics of the restoration
work. Some items thrashed over were the
method of paint removal and the possibility that glass from
other old Gilman windows can be salvaged
and used for replicating art glass panels.
The Hut's 19 stained-glass windows were designed by J.
Scott Williams and presented to the
university in 1930 by Mary King Carey in memory of her
father, Francis T. King, an original university
trustee. The windows' art displays the marks used by
European printers from the 15th and 16th
centuries, the dawn of the industry. For example, one of
the central bay's single-sash curved windows-
-each of which measures 15-1/2 feet tall and 8 feet
wide--features the mark of William Caxton
(1420-1491), who launched the first English printing press,
notably producing Chaucer's Canterbury
Tales and Aesop's Fables.
Memorial Hall's four steel-sash picture windows
feature stained glass panels with seals of the
institutions at which building namesake Daniel Coit Gilman
worked during his lifetime: Johns Hopkins,
Yale, the University of California and the Carnegie
Institution of Washington. Elizabeth Dwight
Woolsey, Gilman's second wife, commissioned the work, which
was completed in 1923. The casement
windows have arched tops and measure just over 9 feet tall
and 5 feet wide.
The three-year renovation effort to restore the
94-year-old building, which will cost $73
million, began in the summer of 2007. Reopening is
scheduled for late summer 2010.
The windows will be returned to Gilman toward the end
of the renovation.