di Domenico + Partners

Restoring an Historic Subway Medallion with GFRP

A recent trip to the fabricator yielded this sample of a decorative station medallion, formed out of Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) to match the historic terra cotta medallion that previously hung in the 168th Street and 181st Street Stations in Washington Heights.

The original terra cotta was damaged beyond repair and new terra cotta (replacement-in-kind) fabrication was in progress, when the terra cotta facility went into bankruptcy, leading di Domenico + Partners and the team to explore alternative replacement options with the project in late stages of construction. Ultimately, dD+P worked closely with New York City Transit, the contractor and the selected GFRP manufacturer to match the historic detail and integrate the replacement panels to keep the project on track.

By replicating the form, color and texture of the terra cotta, the new medallions capture the uniqueness of the original installations while being lighter, quicker to manufacture and more durable. Meanwhile, installation of the Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) suspended ceiling system, to match the historic character of the original arched brick, continues. The project is targeting completion by summer of 2016.

Read more about the renovation of 168th and 181st Street Stations.