This webinar series offers an in-depth look at the restoration of The Branch House on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. Join us as we explore the history of the Branch House and the Branch family. Savor the opportunity to have a front row seat that allows you to see areas of the House that are not open to the public. Get a close-up look at the renovations that are underway on the roof, wood trim, decorative plaster, chimneys and pipes. Learn from some of Virginia’s best artisans, craftsmen, architects, architectural historians and Branch family members as you go on a five-part journey of exploration through the restoration of one of Richmond’s outstanding architectural treasures.
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Designed by John Russell Pope, the Branch House and Gardens occupy half a block in Richmond’s Fan District. This webinar will explore the history of the House and Monument Avenue, critical choices for the location of the House and the architect; the significant role the House and the Branch family have had in Richmond’s history. And we will begin to explore the challenges of restoring one of Richmond’s great architectural treasures.
The Branch House decorative plaster is some of the most beautiful plasterwork in Virginia. Unfortunately, the century since the House was built and water intrusion have caused significant damage. You will see up-close views of the beautiful plaster figures and decorations, including the toll that time has taken on the plaster, and you will discover the history of plasterwork in the early 20th century, particularly in Richmond, as well as learn from a dedicated craftsman how this work is being saved at the Branch.
The roof and windows are defining features of the Branch House. The exterior woodwork relied on skilled craftsman to make adjustments on-site like medieval carpenters, and the roof system is a series of pitches with slate and flat surfaces now with modern coatings. Our panel of experts will discuss the challenges of repairing building elements that pose the greatest risk to water infiltration that can either be highly visible or obscured.
You will learn about brick restoration techniques and considerations that are factored into historic brick buildings across Virginia, including the importance in selecting the right mortar. You will also learn about the changes in the brick industry during the period of the house’s construction, which transitioned from centuries old practices to contemporary construction.
The Branch House plumbing is remarkable in that so much of the original piping is still in use after 100 years but it is causing damage to the decorative plaster. Tracing the pipes has led to understanding how the house was built behind the surfaces you see. What started as a seemingly mundane task escalated into a historical re-imagining of the entire building and discovery of what was else needs to be done!
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