The latest news on New York architecture.

The New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO) published a study detailing how the designation of historic districts in the city has affected home prices. The IBO found that prices for homes in historic districts have been consistently higher than those outside historic districts. In the report's introduction, the IBO evaluates the relationship between historic districts and the correlation of higher property values.

Aesthetic Guarantees

Potential drivers of higher home prices in historic districts are the guarantee that neighboring homes will remain largely unchanged as the exteriors are protected and federal tax benefits can also be utilized to rehabilitate the historic homes to incentivize homeowners to maintain their properties. In other areas, a buyer could purchase a valuable home only to see other houses on the block torn down or dramatically altered later, changing the look and feel of the neighborhood and theoretically depressing the value of any remaining homes.

In a historic district, all homes are held to similar requirements and drastic changes to the neighborhood are less of a threat. While the IBO mentions that some homeowners fear the loss of property rights that occur in a historic district, their report shows that those restrictions don't negatively impact home values.

Tax Benefits

In many cases, federal tax benefits exist for the purchasing or rehabilitation of homes in historic districts. This incentive not only makes historic districts more attractive to buyers but may also increase the value of the property for resale. These tax benefits should be partially capitalized into the price of the historic property.

Neighborhood Quality

The aesthetic and charm of a historic neighborhood gives buyers a sense of quality, something that might be lacking in neighborhoods with mixed housing. Districts that are important to a community's history are more likely to be preserved and may represent a specific style or styles of architecture making it more attractive to some buyers. 

The report's conclusion notes that while the findings support a correlation between home prices and inclusion in a historic district, "there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that districting itself causes higher prices". However, there are some compelling reasons to believe that homes in historic districts will maintain value despite the restrictions that property owners in those district face. Based on this study, properties in historic districts have increased in price at a higher rate than properties not included in historic districts, therefore property value is more likely to appreciate in a historic district.

For information on the preservation and restoration of historic homes in New York, contact Scott Henson Architect.

Published in Landmarks Preservation

Tin Pan Alley is once again making its way into the hearts of Americans now that plans to build a high rise in its place have fallen through. After the Tin Pan Alley was put up for sale in the fall of 2018 for $44 million, the plan to redevelop the area fell through due to economic turmoil. The historical value and landmark status of these buildings have pushed them back into the spotlight and ignited many New Yorkers' desire to preserve their culture.

American Culture Revisited

Tin Pan Alley initially began as an influential residential area and reinvented itself as the spot to set up shop in the entertainment or music industry. Many careers began on these streets some of whose efforts would go on to support Americans through two World Wars and several presidential terms. Thomas Edison's motion picture company even boasted an office on this iconic avenue. Printers, composers, singers, songwriters, and even journalists called this place home for years.

Notes of the Past

Throughout the late 1880s and into the 1950s our country's songwriters thrived in this community. Piano tunes and various broadcasts could be heard up and down the road competing for attention. Local journalists nicknamed the area Tin Pan Alley referencing the competing piano tunes throughout the day and night.

Tin Pan Alley’s musical history contains great songs such as "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" by Jack Norwood and "Give My Regards to Broadway" by George M. Cohan. These iconic pieces were penned within these buildings, and it seems fitting that preserving these buildings protects a rich history that is unique to the streets of New York and to the founders and artists of a bygone era.

A Win for the Tin

On March 12, 2019 the Landmarks Preservation Commission calendared five buildings on Tin Pan Alley; 47, 49, 51, 53 and 55 West 28th Street between Broadway and Sixth Ave. The Commission will research the history of these buildings and determine whether they will be eligible for landmark designation based on a combination of historical, cultural, and architectural significance.

Back in the Spotlight

The new focus on this area has presented the history of these remaining buildings in a unique, personal light for both the residents and New York City’s musical culture in general. Recognizing the value of these buildings and their place in history represents the core values of our city and our culture.

Contact Scott Henson Architect to learn more about the preservation, restoration, and repairs necessary to protect these landmarks and other buildings with significant historical value.

Published in Landmarks Preservation

In recent years growth has been slowing down and businesses are leaving Midtown East. Many of the buildings there are considered inefficient, out of date and, until very recently, limited in how they could be updated or modified to contain more commercial office space. After several years of work by city planners, development experts, preservation professionals, and other stakeholders, new zoning has been approved for Midtown Manhattan, allowing for big changes.

The Midtown East area is home to many large office buildings designed in the International Style, a type of modernist commercial architecture that was intended to support a socially progressive agenda of "better, cleaner, and more egalitarian" cities. The style is known for its lack of ornamentation and structural glass. One well-known building, the Union Carbide building owned by JP Morgan Chase Bank, is now scheduled to be demolished and rebuilt anew.

In 2012 the Union Carbide building underwent a sustainability upgrade that gave it the highest LEED rating of any building to date. Despite the fact that this was the largest renovation ever to receive a platinum rating, JP Morgan Chase Bank is looking to increase the commercial office space available inside. The building currently has space for 6,000 employees, while the newly proposed building is said to include space for 15,000.

There is debate among architects and preservationists whether this building, of the several in the International Style in the local area, is significant in the history of modernist architecture. It is the opinion of the stakeholders is that there are other buildings of modern architecture in this district that are more significant, and this building can be demolished so a taller building can be built in its place. Many argue that the demolition of this building is irresponsible, as it will be the largest voluntary building demolition in the world.

The decision to demolish has been made, so the debate now for those involved will center around the unique challenges of demolition in a crowded urban space that is still an active commercial zone. There are issues of solid waste disposal and the potential for reuse of many of the structural building materials. New processes will need to be developed to safely bring down large areas of structural glass and steel. Hazardous materials that were standard for buildings in 1960 will need to be safely sequestered.

This demolition will provide the construction industry a great deal of information on how to safely bring down the old skyscrapers, and how to manage the materials and solid waste that results.

Part of the new zoning includes needed upgrades to transportation infrastructure and public spaces in the area. These upgrades will be included in the work JP Morgan Chase contracts when they design the new building.

Can we work with you to develop plans for a historic preservation project? Please contact us for an appointment.

Published in Press

Scott Henson Architect is proud to announce that the Larry Robbins House for Management and Technology was honored by the American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter (AIANY) with a 2019 Merit Design Award.

As the preservation architect, Scott Henson Architect worked closely with Studio JosephStudio Joseph on the renovation of the Larry Robbins House for Management and Technology, an 8,500 square foot building at the center of the University of Pennsylvania’s historic campus.

Scott Henson Architect focused on the restoration and stabilization of the building’s 1910 facade to support a contemporary addition. The vision for the project was to create a space that could be an incubator of sorts for the technology students but while also upholding business formality.

The glass addition, designed by Studio Joseph, blends modern and historic elements expressed through the glass and black paneling to provide a secure, yet open element to the architecture, giving the entire building the ability to enjoy the garden courtyards below. Meanwhile, on the North side of the building, Scott Henson Architect’s restoration of the Academic Gothic façade holds the building to its more traditional roots and blends in with the fabric of neighboring historic buildings on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

The building has received LEED Gold Certification for the sustainability standards that were built in during the renovation. LEED Certification, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used system for green building rating in the world. LEED provides companies with the structure to create highly efficient, healthy, and cost-saving buildings. LEED certification is globally recognized as a symbol of sustainability achievement. Buildings pursuing LEED Certification earn points across multiple categories, based on the number of points achieved, a building then receives one of four certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.

Scott Henson Architecture is a leader in historic renovation and restoration, as well as building with sustainability in mind. To find out more, contact Scott Henson Architect today.

Published in Awards

An Art Deco masterpiece that has defined the Manhattan skyline for nearly 90 years is going up for sale in 2019. Currently co-owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council and New York property developer, Tishman Speyer, the Chrysler Building is expected to sell for as much as one billion dollars.

The Chrysler Building is the eighth tallest building in New York City standing at 77 floors. At the date of its completion in 1930, this structure was the tallest building in the world with a height of 1,046- feet, including the 197-foot spire. This claim to fame was short lived, however, when the Empire State Building topped out at 1,250-feet 11 months later.

Here are a few facts you might not know about the Chrysler Building:

  • The iconic Chrysler Building is constructed of nearly four million hand-laid bricks
  • 3,862 windows offer city views from the historic structure
  • Nearly 30 tons of steel were used to erect the famous skyscraper
  • The lobby of the Chrysler Building features Moroccan marble walls and floors
  • The eagle gargoyles on the building are replicas of a real Chrysler hood ornament
  • An observation deck on the 71st floor was closed to the public in 1945
  • Renowned LIFE magazine photographer Margaret Bourke-White once lived on the 61st floor
  • The spire was installed one day before the infamous 1929 stock market crash
  • The ceiling mural in the lobby is called "Transport and Human Endeavor"
  • The mural was painted by notable New York artist, Edward Trumbull

The last time the Chrysler Building sold it was for more than 800 million dollars. This time around, the Art Deco icon may sell for much more if the right investor can be found. NYC Realty Advisors president, Thomas Birnbaum, calls the building "an absolute trophy" even though it can't compete with amenities offered by more modern buildings in New York.

At Scott Henson Architect we’re delighted to discuss the preservation and restoration of famous landmarks such as this and other amazing Manhattan properties. To know more, contact us.

Published in Press

Architecture is designed with intention, meaning its form says something about the building's purpose. Form follows function. Elements such as decorative cornices, windows and doors all contribute to the story of the building's purpose. This is especially true of historic buildings. Preserving their design helps to preserve the building's story and history.

Telling a Story

There is rarely, if ever, anything random or carelessly done when designing a building. The building's size and design tells something about its importance within the surrounding community. It may also tell us something about the importance or wealth of the person or entity that originally had the building constructed. Finally, the design can tell you a lot about the time in which the building was constructed.

For example, a large and imposing door way with massive windows might have been placed in a Wall Street bank to denote the importance of the building's function in that location. Conversely, a Main Street bank in a small town may have been larger and dignified for the setting in which it was placed, but still have been far more modest than its Wall Street counterpart.

A home built in the 19th century might have included more decorative design elements that reflect architectural movements such as the Georgian, Greek revival or the Italianate Revival. This contrasts the cleaner lines often found in homes designed in the 21st century.

Preserving the Story

What would be the point in preserving a historic building if its story was not also preserved? The design choices of the building's original construction tell much about the building's history and original purpose. To wipe these elements away and clean the slate would be tantamount to destroying the building and wiping away history altogether.

When restoring a building, careful consideration should be given to the building's history. It is important that the artisans and craftspeople involved in the restoration process have a thorough grounding in historic building materials and practices. Every attempt should be made to ensure that the building's historic integrity, as well as its structural integrity, is preserved.

The team at Scott Henson Architect are experts in preserving and restoring historic buildings. They direct that expertise toward preserving the character of a historic structure while ensuring that it remains a functional, contributing member of the modern urban landscape. Contact Scott Henson Architect todayContact Scott Henson Architect today to find out how they can help preserve your historic treasure.


Published in Landmarks Preservation

The Knickerbocker Telephone Company Building has been selected as a Finalist in the Architizer A+Awards for the Architecture +Preservation category.

As a Finalist, our work is amongst a handful in the world for that category, and is competing for the two most sought-after awards: The Architizer A+ Jury Award and the Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award.

Here is the best part! YOU, the public, chooses who wins the Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award. Public voting is open from July 10th to July 20th.

Vote for Scott Henson Architect Here

 Click Here to Vote for Scott Henson Architect!


All Finalists and Special Mentions can be viewed on the finalists page at awards.architizer.com/finalists.

The Jury Winners and Popular Choice Winners will be announced on July 30th. In the meantime, help us spread the word!

Published in Awards

What is worth preserving will typically vary from person to person. When something is called historic, it usually means that it is worth the time and effort that is needed to preserve it. The same goes for historic buildings. Building preservation, restoration, and adaptive reuse can potentially revitalize a community and bring new opportunities.

Many older buildings have inherent value, as they are typically built with sturdy and high-quality materials that are hard to find today. A historic building that was once a central part of a neighborhood or a community, such as a church or school, can be preserved or re-adapted for new use. Restoring historic buildings offers us the opportunity to combine all the benefits of contemporary construction with attractive historic features, often of very high architectural and cultural value.

Aside from the aesthetic value that can be found in old buildings, there are various economic advantages to purchasing an older building. Many new business owners tend to prefer setting up shop in an older building because it is shown that buildings with historic value have an economic advantage over their modern counterparts.

A full-service architectural firm has the tools and resources you need to preserve a historic building in your neighborhood. Once a building is gone, the opportunities to preserve, restore and reuse are no longer available. Do not let a historic building in your neighborhood get demolished. Contact us today for more information on what steps you can take to preserve a historic building in your community.

Published in Landmarks Preservation

Many people care deeply about historic building preservation. Individuals who care a lot about history may care about the educational value of historic buildings, as older buildings help to give an area its own unique identity. Oftentimes, people who have a strong emotional connection to a local area often want to maintain the buildings and surrounding neighborhoods that they recognize.

Historic building preservation architects are trained in understanding the essential character of the building. They must empathize with the concerns of tenants, who are rightfully cautious about the process of historic building preservation.

The right firm will always place a great deal of emphasis on historic research, thus making it easier for everyone involved to make the building look and feel like something that is representative of its era. General contractors will do what architects specify; they will fix roofs, install new doors and windows, and reconstruct parapets. However, the actual materials and approaches that will be used in the process will be chosen by the architect as true to the time-period in question.

Firms can adopt modern materials and technologies while still respecting original intent and traditional approach to construction. In that way, their methods can be both modern and timeless, giving them all the tools that are available in the world of today while still allowing them to use the knowledge of the past.

Contact us to become more familiar with historic building preservation.

Published in Miscellaneous

Scott Henson Architect LLC is an award-winning architecture firmarchitecture firm with a diverse portfolio of work in and around New York City, and has developed a specialty in the repair, preservation, and restoration of buildings.

We are creative problem solvers dedicated to a hands-on approach that brings a passion for craftsmanship into all phases of our projects. We assist our clients in diagnosing and remedying the myriad of issues that can plague new and historic buildings alike. Through traditional construction methods and new construction technologies, we find solutions to immediate and long-term concerns of building maintenance and preservation. We work closely with our clients to investigate building conditions and to develop strategic, economically responsible recommendations for the repair of their buildings, and then implement the design and construction in an open, transparent line of communication.

Our approach to architecture is sensitive to the history of existing structures while pragmatic about their present needs to ensure that these buildings remain active contributors to our urban fabric. We approach each project, large or small, with the same level of care. Beginning with a careful investigation of the conditions unique to each project, we integrate our client’s budgetary, programmatic and aesthetic goals to design the optimal solution for each of our projects. Stone, brick and mortar, terra-cotta, wood, cast-iron, steel, sheet metal, waterproofing and roofing systems, windows, and vaults are few of the components we have in-depth knowledge and experience in specifying, detailing, and fabricating.

We view the re-purposing, rehabilitation, and restoration of existing buildings as one of the most effective tools for the sustainable stewardship of our environmental resources, including those resources that have already been expended in their construction.

We have extensive experience in the assessment, design and detailing of building exteriors including preparation of comprehensive conditions reports, construction documents and repair specifications, full and phased construction cost estimates, city agency filing, and contract procurement and administration.
Our firm is primarily functional in Manhattan, which has a healthy combination of architectural landmarks and new buildings that make up its skyline. We also have several projects in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

All things considered, this full-service architecture firm is an exceptional choice for your next building project.

Contact us here to get started.

Published in Restoration
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