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Sandstone Success Restoring and renovating a New York cathedral by Laurie Wells, BES (Arch.), MA, RSW Images courtesy Old World Stone STONE BUILDINGS, ESPECIALLY CATHEDRALS, ARE MEANT TO LAST FOR GENERATIONS. UNFORTUNATELY, THE CATHEDRAL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION IN ALBANY, NEW YORK, EXPERIENCED SEVERE FAILURES FROM ITS EARLIEST YEARS. Well before the groundbreaking ceremony, the first suggestion of stone quality issues was in correspondence between the project architect, Patrick Charles Keely, and Bishop John McCloskey in 1848. The architect had specified Palisades sandstone, but an offer to supply a brown sandstone from a new quarry in Connecticut promised to save $40,000— a substantial figure, given the total project cost of $250,000. The main body of the church was completed in 1852, with the towers following in 1862 and 1888, and finally the sacristy in 1892. 1 This article focuses on some of the challenges of this project that were specific to working with dimensional- cut sandstone. The availability of suitable matching materials in usable dimensions on a timely basis are key elements of the building process. The long-term success of any stone assembly is the durability of the finished product. This case study explains 64 the construction specifier | march 2013 CS_Mar2013.indd 64 2/14/13 10:05:23 AM