Cloister Fountain

Glencairn Museum, Bryn Athyn, PA



Generally when we encounter concrete artifacts, the aggregate recipe is the same as that used in Roman times. However, there’s always a rule breaker, in this case a small fountain built in the 1930s, hidden in a cloister at Glencairn Museum.

Rather than the usual sand and gravel mixture, Raymond Pitcairn called for an innovative new substitute. Colored glass fragments were incorporated into the aggregate mixture forming the fountain basin. These glass fragments were remnants left over from the creation of the stained glass windows for the Bryn Athyn Cathedral, just down the hill from Glencairn. The glass addition creates an incomparable translucence on the concrete basin when the fountain runs. Unfortunately however, age and use had badly eroded the work of art.


Materials Conservation conservators performed gravimetric analysis of the concrete and sourced special colored glass fragments to recreate the unique mix. We also employed the use of modern binding agents to extend the service life of the fountain. MC developed a custom mix that matches both the original concrete color and texture, and recreates the original luster of the fountain basin.

Sukari Keetin