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Pacific Building, San Francisco, 1907
It was going up when everything else was coming down.
Only partially erected when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck, the nine-story, half-block-long Pacific Building was a survivor. Reportedly one of the city's first and largest reinforced-concrete structures, the old office building survived again in 1989 when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit.   The temblor cracked and rattled the Louis Sullivan-esque terra cotta shields and gargoyles, and chased away the tenants for 10 years, but left the building standing.   Today, seismically retrofitted and restored inside and out, the Pacific Building houses the nation's largest "Old Navy" retail outlet in its first three stories 70,000 square feet of pure shopping.   Upstairs, guests pay $225 to $445 a night to stay at the sleekly elegant Hotel Palomar a four-star, full-service boutique hotel.

Cream terra cotta trim sets off the glazed red and green tiles
The Pacific Building's ground floors wear deep red terra cotta tiles and upper stories are pale green. Both colors are set off by a cream terra cotta trim.  "It was always a beautiful building", commented John F. Maillard of Bay Area-based Rainbow Zelinsky Restoration & Waterproofing Contractors. Mr. Maillard was project manager for the Pacific Building's 1998 - 99 exterior restoration. "I had my eye on it for a long time," he said, "even before the Loma Prieta earthquake."   The building's facelift began shortly after new year's 1998 with a thorough restoration cleaning. Thirty-year-old paint and a full spectrum of stains obscured much of the colorful, but damaged facade. Stains included efflorescence from the wet coastal climate. Decades of automobile exhaust dirtied lower portions of the building, while atmospheric and biological staining darkened upper stories.   With the building completely scaffolded, the company started in with Sure Klean® Light Duty Restoration Cleaner.

Workers used heated rinse water
"We did it a little differently." Mr. Maillard explained that after a dwell-time of 15 - 25 minutes, workers rinsed the cleaner off with water heated to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Rods attached to the rinsing wands kept the wands at a uniform 18 inches from the surface.  The 1970s were also unkind to the Pacific Building. That saw about 10,000 square feet of green tile covered with multiple coats of beige paint. Other areas had been weatherproofed with an epoxy-elastomeric coating mix that had to come off before the tiles could be cleaned and repaired.   Workers brush-applied Sure Klean® Heavy Duty Paint Stripper to the painted area. The stripper's gel consistency let it stick to the vertical surface for the extended dwell time needed to cut through the many layers of paint.   With the building cleaned, Rainbow Zelinsky turned to the repairs. The company had to contend with earthquake damage to the facade, as well as previous repairs made in the 1970s, before the Pacific Building was designated a California historic landmark.   In those days, workers repaired deterioration to the finely wrought shields and gargoyles by jamming on globs of concrete. To undo the "repairs," workers cracked off the old concrete. A craftsman reapplied repair material, and sculpted it freehand to complete each ornament. During the repair process, both repaired ornaments and recast replacements were refastened to the concrete walls with new stainless steel pins. In all, 354 shields and 86 gargoyles were repaired.

Grout failure and glaze damage afflicted the tiles
Hundreds of the red and green tiles were afflicted by grout failure and glaze damage. Workers harvested 84 tiles from an out-of-sight roof area to replace missing tiles on the facade. Hundreds of tiles had to be repaired.   In all, more than 9,000 linear feet of tile were regrouted. After cleaning, artists protected select tile with PROSOCO's Breathable Masonry Coating(BMC®) and a special formulation of Sure Klean® Weather Seal SL100. The BMC® was specially tinted to match the facade's original colors. It restored the "look," while providing the tiles with breathable water repellency.   With the building's Christmas 1999 grand opening rapidly nearing, the conservators were not happy to discover a heavy exhaust stain on the building's west end. The greasy, oily stain, from the job-site's diesel generator, was 5 feet wide and 46 feet high, Mr. Maillard recalled. Though the surprise wasn't fun, it wasn't fatal, either. An encore performance of Light Duty Restoration Cleaner took the smudge off in time for the Christmas crowds.