Winston-Salem, NC – We got the chance to stop at a historical tobacco plant re-purposed as a county government center in Winston-Salem, NC. One thing is for certain, the building doesn’t look like it was built in 1912. Originally built as a manufacturing plant for Prince Albert and Camel Tobacco, the facility was the last operational tobacco plant in downtown Winston-Salem when it closed in June, 1990. Several buildings in the vicinity were soon purchased by Forsyth County. While a 1998 fire destroyed most of these buildings, this one only suffered minor smoke damage.
Through an “adaptive reuse project” the building was renovated to become the county government center for Forsyth. 185,000 square feet were converted into a parking deck, and another 244,000 square feet were converted into offices. The project, completed in 2003, incorporated many Sika concrete repair mortars, sealants, carbon fiber, and Sikagard coatings. Senior Project Sales Representative Jim Hadley explained that only 1 spall was found after the reconstruction process over 12 years later. Unheard of in a project of this size, the finished building is a testament to the care taken in the restoration and the quality of the products used.
Because of the age of the building, the restoration project provided some unique challenges. As air entrainment was not invented until the 1940’s, the original building did not include “freeze-thaw” protection. The resulting cracks and 100 years’ worth of carbonation and beam corrosion had serious structural effects on the building. The original specifications were found calling for 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 6 parts coarse aggregate mixed to a “quaky” consistency. Spade and feet used for consolidation (“walking it in”). All things considered, the original workers deserve credit because their building is still standing and likely will for years to come.
On the other hand, we stopped at a parking deck in downtown Raleigh, where the new corporate buildings have a completely different feel to the ones in Winston-Salem. Sika sales representative Greg Brown told us the 7-story parking deck supplies the rapidly growing city of Raleigh. After the application of a waterproof Sikalastic traffic system and Sikaflex 2C NS sealant, it was hard to tell that the structure wasn’t brand new.
Whether old or new, Sika products are helping to maintain the structural integrity of buildings across North Carolina.