Landmark Restoration Project
Landmark restoration continues to be our pride and joy when it comes to historic restoration. When we were tasked with helping restore the old Hide House of the former Lang Tanning Co in Kitchener, we were excited to become part of Kitchener’s downtown history.The Lang Tanning Company was founded in 1848 by Rheinhold Lang and operated for more than 100 years, closing in 1954, operating as the largest supplier of sole leather in the British Empire at one time. Most of the buildings on the property were demolished in 2010 by the previous owners, leaving only the Hide House and Smokestack. The smokestack was saved as the local heritage committee unanimously designated the structure under the Ontario Heritage Act, protecting it from being demolished.
In 2012, Allied REIT purchased the property with intentions of turning the site into the new regional office for Deloitte. The building was to be repurposed as a modern brick and beam office space, complete with stand-up desks, writeable walls, collaborative spaces, and even glass walled stations with treadmills.
Our restoration work included resizing of all the existing exterior window openings, creating a new large opening at the front of the building, and the rebuilding of both parapet walls. The original windows were removed, and we systematically toothed out each side of the triple-wythe walls to ensure its structural integrity remained during resizing of the openings. Brick was sourced from nearby suppliers that reclaimed exterior face brick from other period-similar structures, so we knew we were getting a best possible match on the soft buff coloured brick. We implemented the used of stainless-steel window lintels and anchors during construction and matched the original lime mortars.
Once all the brickwork was completed, we cleaned the entire building using our Rotec Vortex micro-abrasive cleaning system, gently removing environmental and construction staining without damaging the soft brick and mortar surfaces. The system uses powdered glass media mixed with low-pressure water that cleans using a gentle spiral motion with adjustments to media and water amounts on-demand. Low-pressure water is used to simply rinse the inert cleaning product off the wall once completed.
We were also involved in showcasing the 60-meter-high original smokestack that shared the property. We custom-fabricated and installed a structural steel bracket anchored into the brickwork with stainless-steel threaded rods and high-performance epoxy. The brackets now hold eight LED lights that showcase the tower at night. Lighting is mainly green, but can also include red, blue, or white light. The lighting is programmable, allowing colours to change as needed to celebrate important dates or public events.
Our project was part of the $10 million-dollar renovation that went into the building. The office space now serves almost 200 employees on the 26,500 square foot space spread over two floors. The new large openings, including an atrium over the center of the building, create natural light coverage for over 90% of the building interior. Heritage Brick and Stone Inc will continue to be part of these landmark restoration projects, highlighting the historic properties in our communities.