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Prentiss Properties Waterfall Project

In April of 2000, we were asked to help with an unusual problem at 123 N. Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois. This is a downtown high-rise office building built some twelve years ago. It has a beautiful marble lobby. A very unique and beautiful feature in this lobby is a magnificent forty foot high marble waterfall. Water is supposed to cascade down the waterfall and into two levels of ponds where it is pumped back to the top.

The waterfall leaked onto the marble floor and into the underlying basement as soon as it was turned on. The water on the floor created a very dangerous situation in the high traffic lobby and the waterfall was shut down. Several attempts were made to seal it without success. Finally, the owners decided that keeping it running was too risky. It had been inoperable since the building was opened.

We were called in by new managers of the building who were committed to making this beautiful feature operational. Working with the management people, we were able to determine the probable source of the leak. A simple fix would be to coat the joints, but it would not have been aesthetically acceptable.

The marble cap on top of the pond wall was removed and the hollow was filled with Mountain Grout. The material expanded and traveled to all of the leak sources. Great care was taken to monitor the material’s expansion so as not to damage the marble.

The waterfall was turned on two days later. One small leak was determined to be caused by faulty plumbing. The pond itself is now holding water as originally designed.

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