Opening its doors in 1930, Riverside Church is an interdenominational church in Morningside Heights, situated within Columbia University’s campus.
Commissioned by John D. Rockefeller and designed by the firm of Allen, Pelton and Collens, the church’s nave is modeled after the 13th-Century Gothic Chartres Cathedral. Its bell tower goes far beyond the structural capabilities of traditional gothic cathedrals, as it is built on a steel frame the equivalent of a 22-story building, which makes Riverside Church the tallest church in the United States.
Scott Henson Architect became involved with Riverside Church in performing the visual inspection for the LL11 Cycle 8 façade safety report, which involved the use of industrial rope access to properly assess the conditions of the church’s bell tower and adjacent Martin Luther King Jr. Building. The repair program is currently underway.
In the meantime, we are also working with the property manager in weather-stripping the doors, as well as making the observation tower accessible for public use so that visitors may enjoy the views Riverside Church has to offer.
Built in 1892, 3537 Locust Walk is located near the intersections of Locust Walk and 36th Street in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania Campus. The site is an existing three-story semi-detached masonry building situated between two other historically significant masonry buildings; Sweeten Alumni Center (SAC) to the east, and Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity to the west. Scott Henson Architect partnered with Studio Joseph Architects to carry out the renovation and expansion of the existing building, which included rerouting the existing egress, upgrading the building’s systems, and renovating the historic building envelope.
As is the case with all contemporary additions to historic buildings, we at Scott Henson Architect were challenged with the dichotomy of new versus old. Our design provides a sense of cohesiveness that addresses the building’s existing conditions; such as a lack of accessibility, issues of code compliance, and operational inefficiencies. Our goal was to make sure that the contemporary building addition would contrast with the existing fabric in the most respectful way.
One of six brick houses on a tree lined street built in 1881 and designed in the Neo-Grec style, the townhouse is two stories high in addition to the garden level. The house is characterized by rich red clay facebrick, stylized classical details, angular forms, and incised detailing formed by mechanical stone cutting. The top of the building is decorated with a pronounced wood and sheet metal cornice resting on four ornamental brackets.
The house will be designed to Passive House standards, making it a highly insulated and low energy-consuming building. This requires a complete gut-renovation of the existing interior in order to insulate and seal the building. While the front facade remains intact, the rear will see a two-story addition, a new rooftop addition set back from street view, including a partial excavation of the existing cellar.
Finding a balance between old and new elements has been the focus of this project. The house was divided into three apartments leaving a limited amount of original features. Whilst restoring it back to a single occupancy home we will be salvaging historical details where possible, replicating elsewhere with authentic materials and marrying these with modern details sympathetic to the old.
The New York City Department of Buildings requires that owners of buildings taller than 6 stories have their buildings’ exterior walls and appurtenances inspected once every 5 years by a qualified Registered Architect or Professional Engineer. The R.A. or P.E. must then file a technical report with the Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) of the Department of Buildings.
Scott Henson Architect has performed LL11 compliance inspections and report submissions for over 100 buildings, providing assessment to address necessary and recommended repairs. Properties inspected by Scott Henson Architect range from 20th Century skyscrapers to smaller buildings, some of them landmarked, dispersed throughout the 5 boroughs of New York City.
Scott Henson Architect was retained by this iconic New York City toy store for consulting and architectural services for its flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. SHA was responsible for architectural, zoning and code assessments, for the evaluation of the store’s usable floor area per REBNY standards, and provided expert witness testimony.
CitySpire, designed by Helmut Jahn, was the second tallest concrete tower in the world when it was built in 1987. As the tallest mixed-use tower in New York City, the LL11 repair program developed by SHA required careful planning and execution. The scope of work on this 75-story skyscraper included the repair of the curtain wall, stone panels, windows, and structural concrete.
Scott Henson Architect LLC was retained to perform the exterior repairs of this 1961 masonry condominium building, and was responsible for the design of a complete restoration and waterproofing program for 220 concrete balconies that met the board’s maintenance and budgetary goals.
Failed patching from the previous repairs was removed and replaced with a new concrete restoration mortar. The new mortar was custom mixed to match the precise content and strength of the original concrete providing maximum compatibility and adhesion. The existing sleeve-post railings were replaced with new aluminum railings anchored to the slabs using sleek stainless steel pins embedded in the concrete, eliminating their vulnerability to water intrusion and corrosion.
Finally, the newly repaired concrete slabs were fully enveloped for protection against future cracking. A fleece-reinforced membrane was installed on the balcony decks and a breathable water-repellent mineral coating was applied to the underside of the balconies.
Scott Henson Architect was retained to assess the conditions of this East Village brick and timber-framed building’s roof. After a thorough investigation that included inspections and probes, we were able to determine the origination and causes of ongoing leaks. We have since been hired to address these issues, for which a full roof membrane replacement of the main roof and bulkheads is necessary. The repair program includes the replacement of all perimeter and bulkhead base flashing, penetration flashing, drains, and insulation.
Scott Henson Architect was retained to perform an exterior conditions assessment of the building at 241 Eldridge Street, a condominium originally built in 1900. In addition to determining that the building needed a new roof, new windows, and terra-cotta repairs, it was discovered that the original mortar in the brick masonry walls had almost completely disintegrated, leaving massive cavities filled only with dust. The cost of re-building the walls was prohibitive, so after extensive research, SHA provided the board with an alternative. SHA’s proposal utilized a mortar injection technology never used before in the US but common in Europe. The new mortar was injected into the voids through holes drilled into the brickwork, stabilizing the wall from the inside out. The contractor worked for two months drilling the 1435 holes necessary to pump 128 gallons of mortar into the deteriorated walls, saving the condominium both the time and exorbitant cost of reconstruction. The restoration was a success and was featured in the New York Times as well as Habitat Magazine.
This Neo-classical style townhouse in the Park Slope historic district was designed by Frank J. Helme in 1912. The lavish mansion was built for the Tracy family and remained a single-family residence until 1970, when it was converted to a Montessori School.
Scott Henson Architect served as the historic preservation architect in 2015 for the project that sought to convert the building into a multi-family home with seven units. The conversion included two additions at the back of the property, where the existing courtyards were infilled, and a penthouse addition on the roof. Because of the significance of the property and its location within a historic district, the alterations had to first be approved by the Landmarks Preservation and were subject to a public hearing. SHA worked closely with the project architect to ensure that the conversion respected the historic character of the neighborhood, adhered to LPC standards, and responded to the community’s concerns.
In addition to guiding the project through the Landmarks process, SHA directed several design alterations to the original design – including the configuration of the penthouse and composition of the rear façade – to respond to LPC’s concern to maintain the original character of the rear elevation and reduce the visibility of the rear and rooftop additions. The improved design was approved by Landmarks in February 2015 and is currently under construction.