April 12, 2017
93 READE STREET, NEW YORK CITY
93 Reade St. is located in New York City’s Tribeca South Historic District. This 5-story cast iron store and loft building was constructed in 1857 for the Jones family and is among the oldest surviving cast-iron-fronted buildings in New York. Designed in the Italianate style, the building’s ornate façade is split into four bays at each story. Bays are emphasized with fluted Corinthian columns while each floor line is emphasized by an ornate dentiled cornice. On the upper stories, the window openings have flat-head arches with chamfered corners at the second through fourth stories and round arches at the fifth story. Above the building cornice is a central arched pediment. The cast iron façade had suffered from a significant lack of maintenance. Additionally, it had undergone alterations in the form of a fire escape installation around the turn of the century and the original glass eye vault was covered with metal diamond plate with vault doors installed at the two west-most bays.
Knightsbridge Properties acquired 93 Reade Street in 2011 and proposed an adaptive reuse for residential condominiums with a complete exterior restoration. The CTS Group was retained by Knightsbridge Properties to prepare design and construction documents for the exterior façade restoration. Restoration work was completed in 2016.
The Project included comprehensive restoration of 93 Reade Street’s 5-story cast iron façade which includes an arched building cornice pediment and 1st-floor storefront cornice. As in many restorations, the complete extent of the work was not established until the scaffold was erected and the façade was fully surveyed. However, major damage was apparent in the east and west bays due to settlement at the building’s party walls. Paint was removed from the entire façade using grit blasting and paint removers. This revealed additional damage which had been obscured by the paint. Sections of the façade were carefully identified, tagged and removed to the restorer’s facility for restoration work. Restoration included replacement of all missing and severely damaged features. All the replacements were based on the original building features from which molds for the new castings were made. All replacement components are cast iron and all new anchors are stainless steel for longevity. All façade features were surveyed for damage to their supports. All compromised supporting structure was repaired or replaced. There were numerous in-situ repairs. These were done to limit wholesale disassembly where possible. These repairs included work such as “stitching” for crack repair and adding sheet metal cladding at some sill areas to remedy back pitching due to structural settlement. All original cast iron column capitals had been removed from the building. Rather than replicate the originals (for which no good photographic images existed) the Landmarks Commission approved a design which was modeled on, but not identical to, a typical column capital. Due to their complexity the capitals were fabricated from GFRC.
Scientific paint analysis was used to determine the original cast iron paint color. The entire cast iron façade was re-painted based on the analysis. There is only a limited number of skilled cast iron restoration firms. We acknowledge the capabilities of Allen Architectural Metals in realizing this successful, high quality, cast iron restoration.
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