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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.

Published in Projects
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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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