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Adams House
Avery Coonley House
Corrado Parducci Mural
Detroit Athletic Club
Fairlawn Mansion
Hegeler Carus Mansion
Kalamazoo City Hall


Project Name:  Avery Coonley House, ca. 1908
Riverside, Illinois
Objectives:  Clean exterior surfaces
Project Date:  October 2000
Materials:  stucco, tile

Constructed in 1908, The Avery Coonley House represents one of Frank Lloyd Wright's finest early structures. The architect's use of materials on this residence is a clear expression of his basic belief that concrete, wood, glass, and metal should each contribute the essence of their nature to a building. 

The goal of the project was to establish an appropriate level of clean on the exterior stucco, while leaving the 92 years of patina primarily intact. Although the 5 foot overhanging eaves largely protected the seven-foot high band of soft yellow stucco and colored tile that runs around the perimeter of the house, uneven soiling detracted significantly from its aesthetic impact. The grime was a mixture of hydrocarbons, organic dirt, and soot, and simple surfactant cleaning proved ineffective. A poulticing system of clay and surfactants, however, followed by gentle scrubbing with soft-bristle brushes and several rinses, removed the lion's share of these tenacious accretions. As a final treatment, a neutralizing solution was applied and then thrice rinsed to remove a light blanching caused by poulticing. 

A further problem was encountered when the unsympathetic carport addition was removed from the front of the building and it was discovered that large amounts of bituminous tar had been applied directly onto the stucco and tile. This material was removed with a mixture of a proprietary N-Methyl-2-pyrolidinone-based paint remover and acetone. The mixture was applied and allowed to dwell for 10-15 minutes, and then cleared with acetone. Poulticing further neutralized these areas, as well as further lightening them. The small amount of staining that remained was considered acceptable.