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11 West 20th Street

This nine story Neo-Renaissance store and loft building built in 1901 is a part of the Ladies Mile Historic District. The narrow masonry façade is decorated with cartouches on the first three stories, molded window surrounds, and elaborately carved piers and features an original double height iron storefront with pivoting windows.

We have been engaged extensively on the exterior restoration of this landmark building. In 2007 we undertook an interior renovation of the building’s third floor.  

In 2012 we returned to undertake roof, chimney, and skylight repairs for the building as well as repointing the façade, repairing damaged masonry, and replacing the building’s historic windows with new thermally insulated windows.  

Throughout the project we worked closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s to preserve the aesthetic integrity of 11 West 20th Street while ensuring that it would continue to be a sound, high-performing building for its tenants.

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Sustainability

Sustainability

We offer expertise in "green" or vegetated roof systems, providing our clients with customized design strategies to take advantage of the environmental, economic, and aesthetic opportunities provided by their otherwise underutilized roof spaces.

The benefits of green roofs include increasing property resale or rental values, reducing HVAS system energy consumption, improving air quality, mitigating the Urban Heat Island Effect, minimizing storm water run-off and potentially lessening the need for complex and expensive drainage systems.

As a result, installing a green roof can be a cost efficient strategy for buildings seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification, by qualifying for multiple credits in the Sustainable Sites (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), and Energy and Atmosphere categories.

Our Sustainability services include:

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Construction

Construction

We have extensive experience working with general contractors, preservation specialists, craftsmen and artisans and will assist property owners through all phases of the construction process, from the selection of qualified contractors through construction management services.

We use our experience with comparable projects and current market prices to provide accurate construction cost estimates, bid recommendations and contract negotiations and ensure that the projects progress smoothly and efficiently. Throughout the construction process, we maintain an open line of communication by providing our clients detailed progress reports and project documentation.

Our Construction services include:

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Technical

Technical

We provide exterior inspection and analysis services, including scaffold inspections, exploratory probe work, material testing and analysis and the production of comprehensive recommendation reports. Our experience includes performing over 100 façade inspections  in compliance with New York City Local Law 11/98, which requires owners of buildings that are six stories or taller to file periodic conditions reports with the New York City Department of Buildings.

Additionally, we provide city and government agency filing services including new building applications, alteration applications, demolition applications, Department of Transportation sidewalk and street work applications, tree planting applications, curb cut applications, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission applications for work on historic buildings,  BEST Squad site safety plans, as well as professional certification and expedited filing services.

Our extensive experience with these agencies as well as maintaining open and clear communication with our clients throughout expedites and simplifies what can otherwise be a prolonged and complicated process.

Our Technical services include:

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Design

Design

We are a full-service architectural firm providing design services for new buildings as well as additions to existing buildings. We work closely with clients in every aspect of the project, taking into consideration their design goals, programmatic requirements, and site and budgetary constraints to create buildings that are both functional and beautiful.

Through all stages of the design process, we strive to maintain an open, transparent line of communication with our clients and pride ourselves in delivering projects in an organized and timely manner.

Our Design services include:

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Preservation

Preservation

Our expertise is the preservation and restoration of historic buildings, approaching each building with a comprehensive understanding of traditional building materials and construction methods as well as new high-performance technologies.

Our practice directs this proficiency toward preserving the original character and architectural significance of historic structures, while ensuring that they remain active contributors in our modern urban fabric. We work closely with skilled tradespeople and artisans to provide our clients with the highest quality restorative work.

Our Preservation services include:

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The Banner Building

Originally completed in 1892, the “Banner Building” located in New York City’s NoHo Historic District was commissioned by local merchant and real estate operator Peter Banner. Featuring ornate cornices and cast iron columns, its 8-story Renaissance Revival facade combined the use of newly popular cast iron with the classical ornamentation typical of the district. By 2007, after over a century of wear and tear, the historic street façade and storefront had fallen into a state of critical disrepair. Acknowledging the building’s historic significance, the building’s owners of over 61 years retained our firm to direct what became a painstaking 3-year restoration to preserve the 19th century elegance of the Cleverdon & Putzel design while addressing 21st century concerns of energy conservation, accessibility and code compliance.

We implemented a master plan that began with intricately detailed facade inspections, mechanical probes, material analysis, historical research, and documentation. These investigations confirmed the urgency of the façade’s condition. The original cast iron components manufactured by the J.B. & J.M. Cornell foundry were severely corroded, evidenced not only in the cast iron, but also in its structural supports and bracing. In many areas, the decorative pressed sheet metal used in a 1898 rooftop addition was deteriorated beyond salvage or missing entirely. The sandstone pilasters and capitals framing the cast iron bands of the street facade were degraded and the original single pane wood frame windows had decayed beyond repair and warranted replacement in full.

The project team agreed that every effort should be made to adhere to the original materials and traditional means of construction. In areas where the original details were missing or could not be restored, new components had to be fabricated. The missing decorative cast iron elements were recast by Robinson Iron in Alexander City, Alabama using details extracted from surrounding features. In consultation with a structural engineer, new bracing was designed for the reattachment of both the restored and the newly cast elements. The pressed sheet metal egg and dart frieze, scroll moldings, rosettes and decorative medallion reliefs utilized on the 1898 addition were carefully documented section by section and keyed. Replacements for missing or damaged portions were fabricated locally using custom molds, then intricately soldered into place with newly designed structural connections.

The type, mechanics and details of the original wood windows were carefully surveyed for the fabrication of new thermally insulated wood windows. A total of 54 units were replicated to match historic details including both weight and pulley double hung windows and single pivoting sashes with transoms. To enhance the building envelope’s performance, the new windows were fabricated with energy efficient insulated glass panels.

Removal of the 1970’s aluminum and glass storefront revealed the original cast iron columns that would drive the new design. With relatively little documentation of the original storefront, we referenced the details of the original fenestration above as well as the original entry way to inform a new design that was both historically and contextually appropriate, providing a stable continuance along the street wall.

To ensure the preservation of not only the aesthetics of the Cleverdon & Putzel design, but also the buildings continued function, the architect incorporated energy efficiency as well as code compliance strategies throughout. The vestibule was widened to permit ADA access to the elevator bank while preserving the leaded glass entry door transom, penny tile and pressed metal ceiling. Leaking window AC units were replaced with an energy efficient split-unit system, with the condensing units concealed from view by placing them on the roof. The “labor law” staircase, installed in 1916 in what had been a coal chute, was severely corroded and had to be reconstructed part by part with new structural steel supports and platforms, all while keeping the stair open to residents. New insulated piping was run throughout the building and new ADA compliant plumbing fixtures were installed.

The restoration of the Banner Building contributes to the current revitalization of the NoHo Historic District, reinforcing its prominence as a neighborhood known for progressive architectural styles and design. The building’s present condition exhibits authenticity in the measures taken to preserve the original details and design intent, but also innovation in addressing 21st century concerns of energy efficiency and sustainability in a cohesive strategy.

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The Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory

In 1872, after a fire at his Manhattan factory, German-born Eberhard Faber moved his pencil manufacturing factory to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Faber purchased the original structure at 100-106 West Street from iron-merchant Francis N. Grove, an 1860s Italianate-style factory building with German Renaissance-Revival additions designed by Philemon Tillion.

The Engelhardt Addition to the Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory was constructed in stages from ca.1895-1904 and today is part of the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Eberhard Faber Pencil Company Historic District. The structure consists of the unified free-standing façades of three buildings constructed as the company expanded. The western-most section stands on the land that was part of the Grove factory building. In 1895, Faber commissioned Theobald Engelhardt, a well-known Brooklyn architect, to design and build the central section of the structure in the German Renaissance-Revival style, including brick dentil courses and corbelling, bluestone watertables, cast-iron lintels and radiating brick lintels. Lastly, the eastern-most section was constructed from 1898-1904 in the German Romanesque-Revival style, including projecting brick header arches at windows, iron shutters, cast-iron door lintels, and an iron bridge linking it across the street to 59 Kent Street. However, during the mid-1980s the building’s upper stories and interiors were entirely demolished, leaving only the street and rear façades.

Each distinct façade segment was built with different brick and mortar types, and architectural detailing. Additionally, the building had undergone decades of wear, successive modifications and repairs, and a palimpsest of graffiti that gave it a unique character. Due to the district’s rich history, characterized by continuous expansion and addition, it was important to the project team that the chronological nature of the building’s development be preserved at a very detailed level. The intent was for every aspect to be conserved, from the historic brick and mortar types to the contemporary graffiti, anachronistic masonry repairs and severely spalled facebrick from the passage of time.

The rehabilitation and redevelopment of the Engelhardt Addition as a major internet company’s headquarters has been hailed by local media as a catalyst for Greenpoint to be included alongside nearby established tech-industry centers such as DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn. As newer and more innovative companies continue to migrate to the neighborhood, it is critical that stewards of historic restoration and rehabilitation are recognized for their attention to historic accuracy so that future developments are encouraged to follow their lead. This method of rethinking restoration as the preservation of a building’s evolution through time, instead of an exact reconstruction of the past, can be a vital tool in the continued redevelopment of historic neighborhoods.

The project has been recognized by the New York Landmarks Conservancy with the Lucy Moses Preservation Award for outstanding preservation work in New York City in 2013, and The Municipal Art Society Award for Best Restoration 2014.

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The Knickerbocker Telephone Company

Scott Henson Architect completed the full façade restoration of the Knickerbocker Telephone Co. Building, located at 200 Lafayette Street in New York City’s SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District Extension. Originally constructed in 1894 by architect and builder John T. Williams, the 7-story loft-style building is designed in the Renaissance Revival style and features a rusticated base, multi-story brick piers topped by molded capitals, elaborate cartouches, and pressed-metal cornices decorated with dentils and scrolled brackets.

In 2012, Scott Henson Architect was retained to address the decades of deterioration, which had left the historic street façade and cast iron storefront in a state of critical disrepair. The meticulous restoration included the repair and/or replacement of nearly all of the building’s original historic features, including the sheet metal cornice; the brownstone water tables, sills and lintels; the cast-iron bands and storefront bays; and the fire escapes. Much of the top floor of the Lafayette Street façade was reconstructed along with the entire upper half of the sheet metal cornice and decorative brackets, which were replaced to match the original. Due to the extensive deterioration of the brownstone, substantial sections of the water tables had to be completely rebuilt and many of the brownstone lintels and sills had to be cut back and replaced. All the cast iron and wrought iron elements of the facades were stripped, patched or recast and painted to its original historic color (paint analysis performed by Higgins Quasebarth and Partners).

Design architects Stephen B. Jacobs redesigned the storefront bays to match the historic configuration and directed the interior renovation, which celebrates the original historic features by exposing and restoring brick walls, cast iron columns, heavy timber beams, and wood ceilings. Completed in summer 2016, the 105,000 sf manufacturing building has been converted from an underutilized warehouse into high-end retail and offices spaces.

The project has been recognized by the Society of American Registered Architects with the 2016 Design Award of Excellence.

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Matthew Robisch

Matthew Robisch has 8 years experience in architectural design and historic preservation in New York City. At Scott Henson, he oversees the design and construction process from schematic design to project completion. He works strategically with the client and project team on development of project design, programming, and resource allocation. He coordinates with sub-consultants, contractors and clients to ensure quality control and adherence to project schedule. In the office he manages and contributes to the production, detailing and designing of project documents.

Education: University of Virginia BS.Arch
Professional Experience: Scott Henson Architect LLC, New York, NY
2009-Present
The GBS Group, Marlton, NJ
2009-2010
Archronica Architects, New York, NY
2007-2009
Anne Fahim Architectural Services, New York, NY
2007-2009
Professional Affiliations: Licensed in New York
Green Building Certification Institute LEED AP Certified