Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards - 2004
The modest residence of an icon of American Jazz. A Revolutionary War-era home in a rural upstate county. The restoration of a master landscape architect's parkway system. These were just a few of the Award-winning projects honored by the Preservation League on May 12, 2004 at the Union Club in New York. Descriptions of each of the Awards are below.
The League celebrates projects, individuals and organizations that are doing exemplary work through its Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards.
C. Rieger's Sons Factory
What was once an abandoned industrial building in the South Bronx was converted to provide 34 units of rental housing for low- and moderate-income families. This is an exemplary preservation project: for too long a symbol of the decline of the rich architectural and industrial heritage of the South Bronx, C. Rieger’s Sons is now a beacon of hope, providing high-quality affordable housing.
Constructed in 1906 for Christian Rieger, Jr., the building originally housed a cabinet manufacturing business. After being abandoned in the 1980s, it suffered considerable water and fire damage. In 2001, L&M Equity Participants of Larchmont and Great American Construction of Mt. Vernon assembled a team to carry out the a complete rehabilitation of the building for residential use. The group included Feder & Stia Architects; Higgins & Quasebarth, historic preservation consultants; Titan Restoration, masonry contractors; and Continental Custom Windows, wood window manufacturers.
The Brooklyn Historical Society
The League is delighted to recognize the success of this multi-year effort to restore a major Brooklyn cultural institution. The outcome balances the grandeur of the 19th century with the technology and accessibility considerations of the 21st. The installation of modern building systems was carried out without compromising the historic interior appearance, and the exquisite craftsmanship maintains the integrity of the exquisite design.
“Restoration of the Brooklyn Historical Society Building involved hundreds of design and construction industry professionals dedicated to the rebirth of a 125-year-old George B. Post architectural monument,” said Bud Motzkin, Principal-in-Charge, Jan Hird Pokorny Associates. “We are very pleased that this effort has been recognized by the Preservation League.”
Richmond Avenue Roundabouts
The re-introduction of these traffic circles represents a significant step in the restoration of Frederick Law Olmsted’s masterful 1868 Buffalo parkway system. In addition to serving contemporary needs such as traffic calming, the completed circles reflect the original design integrity by using carefully chosen streetlamps and landscaping.
According to Mayor Anthony Masiello, “Olmsted’s legacy is vitally important to Buffalo’s future. This project shows how the public sector and community groups can work together to accomplish great things. The Richmond Avenue Roundabouts will reunite neighborhoods and enhance an already beautiful and vibrant section of Buffalo.”
Louis Armstrong House Museum
The Louis Armstrong House Museum is a celebration of an icon of American Jazz, but also of the vernacular architecture of the 20th century. The project transformed a modest private dwelling into a house museum that is now a principal destination along New York’s ‘Jazz Trail’. Project managers took a sensitive approach to historic preservation when making the changes required for public access.
“It is a great honor to win this award,” said Michael Cogswell, Director of the Louis Armstrong House. “The dedicated efforts of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Queens College, Borough President Helen Marshall and many others made it possible. “I am delighted that the Preservation League of New York State has recognized the importance of sharing the home of Louis and Lucille Armstrong, and their generous spirit, with the public for generations to come.”
Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County
Support for the Knickerbocker Mansion has been carefully cultivated over the years – and tourists, students and residents alike are reaping the benefits. Thanks to the vision and heroic work of the Knickerbocker Historical Society, this rare 18th century building has been saved from certain ruin, and the exterior of a historically significant property been restored.
According to Stana Iseman, project director for the restoration, “Fund raising in rural communities for historic preservation projects like the Knickerbocker Mansion is extremely difficult. The Knickerbocker Historical Society thanks all of its supporters who contributed to this restoration effort.”
Emerson Place Project
Watertown, Jefferson County
This project demonstrates the power of historic preservation, through the renaissance of an entire neighborhood following the restoration of Watertown’s formerly blighted rowhouses. The restoration of 22 housing units in a 100-year-old Georgian Revival-style row brought new life to a threatened area of Watertown, and will hopefully serve as an inspiration for increased preservation activity throughout the city.
Contributing to the success of the project were the efforts of Con Tech Building Systems, Inc., Near East Side Neighborhood Improvement District, former Watertown Mayor Joseph M. Butler and current Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham. “How exciting to have the pleasure of restoring a piece of our history and at the same time seeing it lead to the revitalization of an entire neighborhood,” said Gary Beasley, Executive Director of Neighbors of Watertown.
U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey
22nd Congressional District
Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the 26th Congressional District of New York (now 22nd District) in November 1992 after serving 18 years in the New York State Assembly.
During his tenure in Albany, he was the prime protector of New York's natural environment, including the integrity of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. He was also responsible for the development of the statewide system of Urban Cultural Parks (now called Heritage Areas) including the ones in Kingston and Binghamton.
He is the author of the act that created the Hudson River Valley Greenway, as well as the legislation which created the Hudson River Estuary management program. In 1996, he wrote the federal legislation that established the Hudson Valley as a National Heritage Area.
Congressman Hinchey also serves on the Interior Appropriations subcommittee, which determines funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Park Service, conservation programs, energy research and federal lands.
“Rep. Hinchey’s accomplishments as an Assemblyman in Albany and as a Congressman in Washington have furthered the preservation and interpretation of our cultural, historic and natural resources," said Scott P. Heyl, President of the Preservation League. "He is in many ways a renaissance man of the 21st century, and the legislation and programs that he has introduced have led to heightened awareness and appreciation of these resources that are unique to the Empire State.”
Department of Design & Construction, Health Division
New York City
When urgent repairs were deemed necessary at three former state armories used to shelter New York City’s homeless population, renovations were combined into a single design project. The League salutes the DDC not only for their commitment to historic preservation, but for the example they set through their careful and creative restoration of these city-owned structures.
New York City owns three handsome landmark armories, built between1891 and 1910: The Park Slope and Bedford/Atlantic Armories in Brooklyn and the Franklin Avenue Armory in the Bronx. The Department of Design and Construction turned to Bovis Lend Lease to manage a design-build effort to meet the challenge of managing major capital improvements to these deteriorated structures. Bovis, in turn, put together a team of talented preservation professionals, including: Robert Silman Associates, structural engineers; Stein White Nelligan, architects; Jablonski Berkowitz, architectural conservators; James R. Gainfort; and Edwards & Zuck.
“The Department of Design and Construction is proud to be a partner in New York City’s commitment to historic preservation,” said Commissioner David J. Burney, AIA. “New York City is fortunate in having a diverse portfolio of historic public buildings including police stations, firehouses, libraries and cultural institutions. The conversion of these historic structures to modern uses is a special challenge, as we incorporate modern technology while preserving the essential quality and character of the original design. The Bloomberg administration has made a commitment to design excellence in our public works and we are grateful for the special recognition the League has bestowed on the conversion of former state armories.”