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The Mercantile Building

The Mercantile Building is an art deco skyscraper designed by the New York architectural firm of Ludlow and Peabody.

When it was completed in 1929 the 48-story tower was the fourth tallest building in the world. The building’s original owner was Frederick William Vanderbilt.

SHA directed a full exterior restoration program which included terra cotta repairs, the restoration of the copper mansard roof, the installation of a new roof membrane, masonry repairs, and a window replacement program.

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The Knabe Building

C.P.H. Gilbert, a society architect best known for his work on townhouses and mansions in the Gilded Age, designed this eleven-story office building in 1904.

The building was referred to as the Knabe Building after its longtime tenant the Knabe Piano Company.

SHA directed the exterior restoration of the building which included repairs to the terra cotta façade elements, reconstruction of deteriorated brick, copper mansard roof repairs, storefront restoration, sidewalk replacement and structural vault repairs. We are currently working on the design of a new roof deck.

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366 Fifth Avenue

We were retained to undertake a penthouse renovation program of this 1907 commercial building at 366 Fifth Avenue.

The scope of work included renovation of a commercial penthouse, the addition of new oversize window openings and clerestory, creation of new openings in the existing parapet walls and installation of new skylights and bathrooms.

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Concourse Plaza Hotel

We are currently working on the exterior restoration program at the 900 Grand Concourse. Located in the Grand Concourse Historic District near Yankee Stadium, the building was originally constructed as a hotel whose notable guests included Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and is currently programmed for senior housing.

The present restoration includes reconstruction of the original brickwork, terra-cotta urns and stone repairs, reconstruction of the masonry parapets and new roofing membrane. The project is currently under construction and completion is scheduled for Fall 2017.

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285 Central Park West

We served as the building architect for this Landmark building, located in the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District.

Designed by Robert T. Lyons and completed in 1906, the St. Urban was park of the early generation of tall New York apartment buildings, which was ushered in by the construction of the Dakota in 1884.

Like many of these buildings, the St. Urban is firmly rooted in the Beaux-Arts tradition, with its high mansard roof, round corner tour, and elaborate copper detailing.

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80 Greene Street

80 Greene Street, located in the Soho Cast Iron District, was designed by architect Griffith Thomas and was completed in 1872 as a store and storehouse for C. Henry Gardiner. The construction of 80 Greene is characteristic of the historic district, with a cast iron façade and large open loft-style floor plates.

SHA was contracted to prepare design, filing and construction documents for the full interior demolition and renovation of the building’s 4,000sf second floor loft. The renovation included space planning for an entirely new apartment layout, including a two bedroom suites, a guest bedroom, new fire places and chimneys, a new kitchen and the construction of a new 2,000sf mezzanine loft space, accessed via spiral stair.

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Jewelers Craft Building

We are the building Architect for this nine-story loft building. This Landmark Renaissance Revival building was designed by the noted firm of Cady, Berg and See and is situated in the Tribeca East Historic District. The building was converted to artists’ living and working quarters in 1978-80.

We have been working with the building for 10 years carrying out a range of projects including a restoration of the historic façade, roof repairs, elevator and boiler upgrades, and interior renovations.

The former Fuller Brothers Hat Manufacturing complex is historically and architecturally significant as an important and rare surviving example of the mid-19th century large scale industrial development in the city of Middletown under National Register Criteria A and C. The building displays architectural elements from the Italianate and Romanesque styles and retains a high degree of materials and craftsmanship. It is one of the few remaining industrial complexes associated with the city of Middletown’s major industrial area and the large scale industrial development of the mid and upper Hudson Valley regions.

The factory complex was built by the Fuller Brothers in 1874 and throughout its history it has been owned by a number of different entities. The original factory consisted of seven principal buildings, but it has undergone various alterations since its construction including additions to the main building and the construction and demolition of outbuildings on the property.

The project is located at 34 Mill Street in the City of Middletown, Orange County at the corner of Mill Street and Harding Street. The buildings have been mostly vacant since 1978. Adaptive reuse of the property allowed for the rehabilitation of the property for needed affordable housing. This project serves two important purposes: first, the preservation, reuse and restoration of the most significant components of the property, namely, the main mill building and the smokestack—the signature element of this historic complex, as well as an additional outbuilding; and second the provision of needed affordable housing in the City of Middletown.

Magnusson Architecture and Planning PC designed and carried out an adaptive reuse of the main mill building as residential units and commercial space, and one of the original outbuildings for a residents’ community hall. As preservation consultants, we provided the necessary analysis and specifications to reconstruct, and maintain the facades of the main mill building and the original chimney stack. A new addition of 15 additional units and residential support facilities is attached to the east of the main mill building through a three-story glass corridor, replacing the remainder of the original outbuildings.

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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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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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