The 10-story building, which dates back to 1922, was originally designed by Carrere & Hastings, the same architectural firm that designed the New York Public Library. Due both to natural aging and earlier insensitive modifications, the lobby lacked design consistency and had worn poorly. In addition, the lighting was inadequate and the mailbox area was difficult to maneuver and the boxes themselves too small. The façade, including entrance doors, awnings, exterior lighting and window grilles were not in keeping with the style, scale and history of the building.
After: The design aimed to use as much of the existing fabric as possible with selective modifications. The existing terrazzo floor was patched, cleaned and polished. Walls, pilasters and moldings were cleaned, patched and painted subtly different tones to emphasize existing detail. New lighting was added throughout. The mailbox area was extended into a new alcove, created out of an unused space beneath an adjacent stair. Doors were given new hardware and painted to look consistent. A new glass enclosed bulletin board was added to avoid notices arbitrarily taped around the lobby. The old double wood door was removed and replaced with a custom wrought iron door and sidelights and the window grilles were all replaced.
Finally, a large mirror was located adjacent to the entry to reflect light into the space. Timing & Budget: Cost and timing for the work were critical factors. Throughout the design process, detailed estimates were generated to ensure the design would fall within budget. With construction documents complete, bidding general contractors were able to accurately determine the time for construction.
The scope of work required Department of Buildings approval, but because the building is a landmark, it also required a much lengthier Landmarks Preservation Commission review for the exterior work. Knowing this, KATZ divided the application in two parts and gained approval for the interior while the Landmarks Commission took their time reviewing the exterior work.