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December 14, 2023
Getting Water Wright

“This is what we get for leaving a work of art out in the rain.”

One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s clients* made this observation about the leaking roof of her house—a recent Wright design. SUPERSTRUCTURES’ response would have been something like, “we’ll track the leak and restore the roof so it doesn’t recur.” That would have been much more useful to the client.

The comment by the Wright homeowner underscores a universal fact: water is the enemy of the building envelope. Many building envelope problems can be traced to a breakdown of systems designed to protect against the intrusion of water.

And water doesn’t distinguish between buildings that are one year old and 100 years old. So, understanding how it behaves goes a long way to discovering, diagnosing, and repairing most envelope issues.

Sometimes, a problem results when a critical issue has been overlooked in the original design of the building. Occasionally, the culprit is sub-standard material or workmanship, especially in details where different materials and assemblies meet.

Through analysis of the building’s assemblies and non-destructive testing, we can track leaks in roofs, facades, window systems, and curtain walls, whatever the age of the building. We can diagnose the cause of water infiltration in historic building envelopes as well as those that start leaking on day one.

Water testing the window system of a new building

SUPERSTRUCTURES remediates leaks in many historic buildings, but we also offer commissioning and quality assurance services for new construction to help ensure that it doesn’t suffer similar problems. They may not be Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, but we’ve worked on designs by acclaimed architects of today.

Whether a building is considered a work of art or not, it’s going to be “left out in the rain.” But through an experienced understanding of how water interacts with the building envelope and how to control it, we can do something about it.

*Georgia Lloyd-Jones, while grabbing a bucket to catch ceiling drips at her Wright-designed home.

SUPERSTRUCTURES Engineers + Architects

14 Wall Street, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10005
(212) 505 1133


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