More than three decades after the last train left Michigan Central Station, the building’s ornate interior will soon look as its creators envisioned more than a century ago.
Ford Motor Company has brought on EverGreene Architectural Arts, one of the largest specialty contractors in the U.S., with a lengthy résumé of restoring historic buildings, to revive the grandest areas of the train depot, including the main waiting area, arcade, ticket lobby and restaurant.
The New York City-based company will replicate and restore approximately 56,000 square feet of decorative plasterwork. A distinguishing feature of the station’s Beaux Arts architecture is the plaster, which covers most of the building’s first floor and was made to look like stone, a cost-saving measure at the time of construction.
Evergreene will preserve and clean what original plaster material can be saved and recreate new portions where needed.
The 18-month project will use three plaster techniques---traditional three-coat plaster, ornamental plaster and veneer plaster---and will require replicating more than 3,000 cast plaster pieces, including the coffers, medallions and rosettes that adorn the waiting room’s walls and ceilings.
The work will be choreographed in a way that creates a seamless transition of old and new in the areas most visible to visitors.
Austin Giesey, project manager for Christman-Brinker, the construction team leading the restoration project, said the effect when it’s finished will be “jaw-dropping.”
“The original architects used every plaster craft available to them to create the station’s impressive public spaces,” said Giesey. “People don’t realize just how much detail has been lost over the past 30 years. When we’re finished with these spaces, they will look phenomenal. You will walk in and see a grand expanse of stonelike plaster that will look exactly like the original concept. It’s really going to be amazing.”
While ornamental plaster is far less common in new buildings than it was in the early 1900s, the skilled tradespeople at Michigan Central Station will be able to...