The mission of the Historic Resources Committee (HRC) is to identify, understand, and preserve architectural heritage, both nationally and internationally. HRC is engaged in promoting the role of the historic architect within the profession through the development of information and knowledge among members, allied professional organizations, and the public.
Apropos National Preservation Month, Ivan Brice Architecture just received Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts' 2022 Exterior Restoration Award for completing a comprehensive landmark restoration of 680 Park Avenue in New York.
Standing on the corner of 68th Street and Park since 1912, this building anchors the Pyne-Davison block, the only remaining continuous group of 6-story townhouses on Park Avenue. Originally designed as a private residence for Percy Pyne - grandson of Moses Taylor, who had been president of what is now CitiBank - the building is a refined example of architect McKim Mead and White's neo-classical revival style, drawing upon a diverse vocabulary of precedents spanning Greco-Roman, Italian Renaissance, English Regency and American Federalist Architecture.
In the 1960s, the building was converted from a private residence to headquarters for the non-for-profit Americas Society. Each year, this organization presents 2 to 3 art exhibitions, approximately 20 concerts, and panel discussions and book presentations featuring artists from the across the Western Hemisphere.
While the organization continually kept up the interior of the building over time, years of weathering cycles left many elements of the building's exterior in badly worn condition. The wood windows, still the originals and over 100 years old, were inoperable and deteriorated beyond reasonable repair. The occupants experienced drafts from the single pane glass with air and water infiltration at the unsealed, uninsulated perimeter of the frames.Ivan Brice Architecture authored the building's first comprehensive Exterior Condition Survey & Capital Improvement Report, which was the catalyst to project funding that included a $1.32 million grant from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. From September 2020 to September 2021, the building underwent a window replacement, roofing replacement, façade restoration, and gallery renovation for a total project cost of $4.25 million.
The exterior envelope restoration involved fully replacing the slate mansard roof and all copper roof flashings and dormer and bulkhead cladding to address leaks. We had all cracked and eroded brick replaced, rebuilt chimneys, and repointed all façades. All ornamental marble throughout the cornice and facades was repaired using specially-formulated Jahn Repair Mortar. All wrought iron balconies were stripped of paint, welded as needed, and repainted.
For the window replacement, we researched various window companies considering their capability to manufacture the unusually tall 11-foot-high operable wood windows as required. The durability of wood species, paint/stain finishes, historic millwork profiles, and hardware were also important factors to be evaluated. The new windows were designed to closely match the original configurations, muntin bar profiles and brickmolds. Our firm replicated the original design while incorporating double pane insulated glass units with simulated divided lites to greatly improve thermal performance. The U-value - a measure of heat loss and transfer between interior/exterior - was reduced by almost 75%, meeting current energy code criteria of 28 BTU/hr/sf for wood windows on new buildings.
The restoration of 680 Park Avenue received funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for improving the quality of spaces used to increase public awareness and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the Americas. The most apparent effect on the public interface was achieved at the first-floor gallery space. For decades, the windows on the street were enclosed in sheetrock with glass painted over in black, blocking the public view inward. When installing the new windows in this space, we decided to fully restore the window openings, thereby enlivening the interior with sunlight and framed views of the surrounding historic townhouses.The restoration job as a whole contributes to the neighborhood streetscape. As a reflection of its importance to the community, this landmark restoration project has just been recognized by the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts to receive their 2022 Exterior Restoration Award. For more information on this project and our firm, please visit IVAN BRICE ARCHITECTURE