Over the last several days, Mike Smoucha and his crew from Botti Studio of Architectural Arts closely examined the ten clerestory art glass windows on the south side of the temple in preparation for removing the windows and transporting them to Evanston for restoration.
Botti Studio loosens the putty where the windows are joined.
The condition of the windows is generally excellent. Up close, you can really appreciate the opalescence of the opaque glass, especially the green pieces. When the sun comes through, the glass is a beautiful mixture of green, yellow, blue and even orange tones, and contrasts with the dark zinc caming. When the glass is cleaned, I'm sure the colors will be stunning.
Once the screws and putty were loosened, the workers were able to remove the windows. These windows have been in place for one hundred years and have rarely been disturbed, so it was amazing to see Mike and his crew just lift them up and move them onto the scaffold platform.
Then they secured them in specially-built wood crates, and lowered them by hoist to the ground below. It was a painstaking process that took most of the morning and all afternoon. As soon as the first window was lifted out, I stepped out onto the scaffolding and caught part of the process on video:
Being up on the scaffolding afforded me a rare up-close look at Unity Temple's cast-in-place concrete columns:
In the afternoon, Zera Construction's testing firm attempted to identify the location of the old underground heating tunnels by using ground penetrating radar:
We are going to be installing structural shoring in the Entrance Hall that will help hold up the roof, and it is really important that it not bear on the tunnels, which could cause a cave-in. Mark Nussbaum of Architectural Consulting Engineers, who has designed the new ground source heat pump (a/k/a "geothermal") HVAC system for Unity Temple and arguably knows the tunnels better than anyone, stopped by the help. In the end, the rig was not strong enough to locate the deeper tunnels. Zera is bringing proper equipment up from Texas and we'll try again next week.