Corn Exchange Bank Building, Philadelphia, PA
When the technology company Linode purchased 249 Arch Street for its national headquarters, the building had already had several lives. Built in 1907 and expanded to twice its original size in 1921, the property has housed several banks including Corn Exchange National Bank and Girard Trust. In 1974, the place was acquired by Seamen’s Church Institute, and later was leased to MTV’s Real World Philadelphia for use as the set for the series’ 2004 season. After all that, the exquisite Beaux Arts architectural detailing required extensive repair to restore it to its original glory.
For over a year, a full-time crew worked to restore the building. We removed paint and restored brass vent and radiator grills, marble elements, and wood paneled offices and doors. Using a centuries-old technique called scagliola to create imitation marble out of hand-mixed plaster, MC technicians replicated and installed stacks of scagliola tiles they fashioned in our studio.
An entire wall of original tiles from a hidden location were individually removed and relocated to a newly-built wall in a more prominent spot, while hundreds of other scagliola tiles were restored in place. Marble and scagliola balustrades were disassembled and structurally stabilized. Vinyl replacement windows were removed and replaced with custom wood sash; the old bank vault door was refinished, too.