Edison Memorial Tower
The Edison Memorial Tower was completed in 1937 on the site of Thomas Alva Edison's "Invention Factory" (1876-1882) in Menlo Park (now Edison Township), NJ. Designed by architects Gabriel Francois Massena and Alfred F. duPont of Wilmington, DE, the Tower is one of only two Art Deco monuments in New Jersey. It was constructed using precast architectural concrete panels with exposed aggregate, the work of John J. Earley, a concrete pioneer. Earley utilized 13 different aggregate color mixes to give the Tower a graduated "dark to light" appearance that focused attention on the light bulb at the top and added to its monumentality.
The precast concrete surface was deteriorating for some time. The staff of Mills + Schnoering Architects* investigated the Tower's condition and developed a set of documents for its restoration. Together with conservators, engineers, and specialty consultants, the team performed a survey utilizing rope access from the top of the bulb, a 125-ft working height boom lift, and a scaffold constructed around the base of the Tower. Laboratory analysis of samples collected during the survey allowed the team to better assess the condition of the Tower and the reasons for its deterioration. Various degrees of repair ranging from general cleaning and patching of spalls to full replacement of portions of the precast panels were recommended and are being carried out. Restoration of the Tower also includes replacement of portions of the terrace drainage, replacement of the Tower's lighting with LED light sources, and replacement of the audio system.
*initially working as Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects, LLC.