Brick building with arched windows

It is known as the ‘granite city’ – which is the reason New York architects have contacted Aberdeenshire stonemasons to help with a colourful and historic building.

The Windermere apartment block, build in 1881, underwent restoration and part of a restoration project which involves replacing three ornamental red granite pillars at the front of the building. After much detective work on the part of a Scottish stonemason company Fyfe Glenrock in Old Meldrum, it was discovered that the polished granite used in the pillars were originally from a quarry near Peterhead in Scotland.

Peterhead granite makes its way across the Atlantic

The stone, known as Peterhead Granite, had been imported across the Atlantic when the Windermere was being constructed, prompting architects to believe that Scottish stonemasons were probably involved in the building’s construction too. Today, they are again, with the new Fyfe Glenrock-sculpted pillars travelling across the Atlantic to the Big Apple. The precious stone creations – which consist of the ‘best part of 40 tonnes in blocks’ were wrapped in foam and transported in wooden crates.

The 160-year-old Fyfe Glenrock firm has also provided the famous red Scottish granite for the country’s Parliament, the Millicent Fawcett Suffragist Memorial in London and the smart Silver Fin Building in the Granite City of Aberdeen itself. Peterhead granite also comes in a blue shade and this too can be found in London – in the fountains in Trafalgar Square, no less. Today the stone is still quarried at Stirlinghill and Longhaven but it’s now mostly used for aggregate.

Word is that Peterhead Granite was also used to construct the Brooklyn Bridge. The Scottish stonemasons at Fyfe Glenrock believe it was used to create the bridge’s parapet bases.

Windermere restoration welcomed by New Yorkers

Meanwhile, the multi-million-pound restoration of The Windermere was welcomed by many New Yorkers who see the seven-storey high, three apartment blocks, as a vital part of their city’s history. Originally designed as ‘apartment living for single young women of independent means,’ the Windermere on Ninth Avenue and 57th Street was a highly desirable residence at its completion. Apartments there contained mod cons, such as telephones and a hydraulic lift.

Over the decades though as fashions – and the layout of the city – changed, the building went downhill, Rooms were instead rented out at a pittance to those struggling to find work in the creative communities (actor Steve McQueen once lived there). Eventually the Windermere fell into disrepair. In 2007 it was even declared unfit to live in by the fire department.

Good news however, was just around the corner. The restoration project, paid for by developer Mark Tress, will see The Windermere become a 325-bedroom hotel with a rooftop restaurant. A small number of apartments have also been allocated, while the ground floor will be used to house retail units.

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To future-proof or restore part of your historic granite – or any other kind of stonework for that matter – then get in touch with us here at

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Building Transformation’s unquestionable honesty and enthusiasm for ensuring the client receives the correct whole-life solution (rather than a quick fix) resulted in us being able to ensure the building was not only returned to its former glory, but will stay that way for years to come. I would recommend them to anyone.

Kenny Gash - Carillion Amey

The work provided by Building Transformation was excellent. Their product and building exteriors knowledge is detailed, comprehensive and practically applied to the client’s needs. They offer a professional, detailed, high-quality and customer- focused service which meets the short, medium and long-term needs of the client, and provides practical, cost-realistic advice.

Kerry Quinn - Echo Arena

Customer service is paramount to Building Transformation and they invested vast amounts of time in providing me with a programme to facilitate what was a very complex and time-specific programme of work for the site. The quality and level of support provided by Building Transformation is priceless to any client/contractor.

Marc Blow MCIOB MBIFM - Carillion Amey

The approach and advice on setting up the works at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre were first-class. Building Transformation’s attention to detail was excellent and the RAMS were followed meticulously to every detail. We were delighted with the works and service, and would not hesitate to use them again, nor hesitate to recommend them to any organisation.

Kevin Egginton - Wolverhampton Council

A 200,000 sq. ft., four-storey leisure venue in the heart of Nottingham city centre surrounded by major traffic routes needed work to be done overnight to deal with the traffic issues, while the site remained open throughout. The project took around three weeks to complete and went exceptionally well; the Building Transformation staff were flexible and able to work round dynamic operational issues. The clean was of a high standard and has made a significant different to the image of the building. A very difficult job done well.

Suzanne Green - Land Securities

May & Co have worked with Building Transformation on a number of projects which have included external building cleaning and refurbishment. They provided a great service, supported by the high level of documentation from the initial quotation to books and industry-related guidance, all relevant to our project.

Anton Theobald - May & Co

I am very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. Also the level of cleaning provided and attention to detail is much appreciated.

Waqas Bin Tahir - Ibis Southampton

I am using Building Transformation’s work to help justify façade restoration works around our business.  They have produced excellent presentations on what can be achieved and is a brilliant piece of informed marketing that is helping slowly win people over in our business to take façade cleaning and restoration more seriously.

Needless to say Building Transformation is a name that is now becoming known and respected.

Simon Attwood - Broadgate Estates Ltd.

Building Transformation gave great communication throughout our projects.
It will be my pleasure to recommend Building Transformation.

Sarah Cameron - My Hotels Group

Just signed off the job with Richard. Myself, the bosses and the tenant all are very pleased with the work. It definitely looks rejuvenated just a case of painting the concrete window surrounds in the new year to finish it off. Have found your company and staff very professional and helpful which has facilitated a project with minimal inconvenience and disruption to our in situ tenants.

Mark Hollinshead - Headruddy Property Development

I had a walk around today with Dave and am impressed with the work so far.  Dave and the team have done a great job.

I’d certainly love to work with you in the future so perhaps before the job is completed we could look at what opportunities there are for the future.

Marie Green - Novotel Sheffield

At this stage, from my point of view your team has been extremely professional, informing us of what was happening at all times and most importantly no disruption whatsoever to our guests and business.

Ludovic Verzi - Novotel Leeds

We are very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. The operatives on site were very professional and communicated to us at all times.

Maria Pinana Mateu - Science Museum

The team at Building Transformation understood our challenge of finding a facade cleaning solution that would initially restore the glazing to its original state, protecting our building for years to come. Through intelligent and thorough testing right through to the full restoration of Block D, we have been very satisfied with the project management and delivery of the cleaning programme.

Colin Pilkington - Renaker Build Limited

Thank you for all the work that you carried out in cleaning the outside of our school.  We are delighted with the results.  You have managed to completely remove heavy staining from many areas around the building.

We found you extremely easy to work with: your quote was reasonable, you carried out the work quickly and you were very flexible in terms of timings.

Tamsin Griffith - Courtney Road Primary School, Bristol

have worked with Building Transformation on several projects within the hospitality industry and have found
them to provide high levels of professionalism and workmanship.


e will definitely be working with you again! Your engineers were very polite and accommodating every time they visited site and have done a first class job. I will be recommending Building Transformation to everyone!

Mark Healy - One Facility


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