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The latest news on New York architecture.

  • Olmsted’s Staten Island Home in State of Disrepair

    Olmsted’s Staten Island Home in State of Disrepair

    On Staten Island sits an important house in a dreadful state of disrepair. Described by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission as "a distinguished residence," the former home of Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmstead was declared a landmark in 1967.

    Alternately known as the Olmsted-Beil House or the Poillon House, this structure is the final remnant of the original 125-acre farm property Olmstead called home from 1848 to 1854. It was here that the idea of Central Park was conceived. This 18th century farmhouse was one of the very first official New York state landmarks, but if conservationists don't raise sufficient funds to make repairs soon, this important piece of history is sure to be demolished.

    According to a New York Times article, the estimated cost of stabilizing the abandoned house is around $460,000. One-third of that price would go towards removing flammable material, erecting a security fence, and paying for architectural drawings. This price doesn't include the cost of actual restoration of the landmark house.

    A Plan to Preserve

    In late October, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation proposed the acquisition of an adjacent property that would protect the area around the historic farmhouse from future development while adding public park space to the neighborhood. ”The purchase of this neighboring house is an imperative step toward the goal of renovating and reopening the house.” said Staten Island parks commissioner, Lynda Ricciardone.

    How You Can Help

    According to Untapped Cities magazine, the New York Landmark Conservancy is in a hurry to raise renovation funds by way of a Kickstarter campaign. At the time of this blog, the conservancy group Reclaim Olmstead House Committee has received enough crowdfunding to cover the cost of stabilizing the farmhouse floor and giving the historical house a fresh coat of paint.

    The ROHC is endorsed by Cultural Landmarks Foundation president, Charles Birnbaum, Prospect Park admin, Sue Donoghue, historian Kenneth Jackson and documentary filmmaker, Ric Burns.

    To know more about historical restoration, contact us.

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  • Benefits of Membrane Roofing on New York City Buildings

    Benefits of Membrane Roofing on New York City Buildings

    When it comes to roofing, it seems like there are a million types to choose from - shingles, tile, metal, slate, membrane, even vegetated. It can be difficult to sift through all of the information and reach a conclusion about which one is the right choice for your building. Today, we are talking specifically about membrane roofing and its benefits for buildings in the city that never sleeps.

    What is Membrane Roofing?

    Membrane roofing is a roofing system that eliminates the formation of pools of water on flat and low slope roofs. Unlike sloped roof designs with layers of roof shingles or tiles, flat and low slope roofs have a difficult time removing water from their surfaces alone. This system is typically a single layer membrane with no seams that moves water away from areas on the roof where it would otherwise collect.

    Types of Membrane Roofing

    There are many types of membrane roofing used for flat and low slope roofs. The most popular are:

    • Built-up roofing
    • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
    • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
    • Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO)

    How Membrane Roofing Can Benefit Buildings in NYC

    New York receives its fair share of rain and snow every year. The average rainfall every year is 47 inches, while the average snowfall is around 25 inches. That is more than enough precipitation to cause significant damage if it lingers on rooftops. Since most roofs on existing buildings in the city have flat roofs, this could be a real risk if the wrong roofing system is chosen.

    Whether your building is new or old, it is important to consider a roofing system that effectively moves water off the roof top year-round. Membrane roofing was created specifically for the types of rooftops that make up New York City’s skyline.

    Scott Henson Architect has completed many roof replacement and repair projects, and has knowledge of best practices when it comes to choosing a manufacturer or contractor. For more information, contact us today.

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