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East By Northeast RestaurantStone Lion Inn HotelMontauk, New York Program Having skillfully renovated the interior of their restaurant into a sophisticated environment, the owners wanted to improve the exterior appearance of the restaurant, and create larger suites in the attached hotel, by reducing the number of room units. Response The transformation of the combined restaurant and hotel will be dramatic. A new covered Porch, consisting of a stone base and columns, galvanized metal roofing, and glowing white glass panels will lend a modern feeling. This will carry over to the hotel, which will have all new mahogany decks and stainless steel cable railings. The entire structure will be resided with wide plank, horizontal cedar, stained red, lending a barnlike appearance.
The Hermitage at NapeagueOffice Building Expansion Program The Board of this oceanfront Cooperative asked that a more welcoming environment be created for visitors who rent units during the summer months. Response Within strict limitations, due to the presence of wetlands, the building has been redesigned and added to, to accommodate a better Reception Desk, Guest Seating, Exercise Room, Children’s Play Area, Laundry, and improved use of the exterior Terraces.
The Hermitage at NapeagueReport to Dune Management Program Since installation of new painted vertical cedar siding and new windows and doors about four years ago, problems have become evident, including buckled and loosened siding, and peeling paint. Response O R S was engaged to analyize, research and report to the Cooperative’s Management Company why these problems have occurred, and what solutions might be available. Areas of siding were removed and observed. Consultation with the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, Andersen Window Corp. and review of all pertinent documents (drawings, specifications) were reported in booklet form.
Caldwell Center for DermatologyCaldwell, New Jersey History This wood frame building is located in a Residential Historic District. It originally was built in the 1930’s as a single-family house, with an adjoining 1,200 square foot office. Program The Client, a Dermatologist, required an office of approximately 1,800 square feet. He used the words ‘non-medical,’ ‘light,’ ‘expansive,’ ‘serene,’ and ‘timeless’ to describe the new environment that he wanted to create for his patients. In meeting the Client’s needs, the Town’s Land Use Plan imposed the severest restrictions. Since the building was a non-conforming use in a historic district, it had to remain a good contextual neighbor. The functional program for the new office required a useable area far greater than the square footage of the existing office. The Land Use Plan would not permit us to increase the footprint of the building, nor construct an additional story. We, moreover, were faced with a dark interior and low ceilings. Response By reclaiming an underutilized attic space, we met the Client’s request for expansiveness by creating a dramatic double-height Reception Foyer, and an adjoining double-height Patient Waiting Room. We introduced natural light into each Exam Room by adding dormers, and by replacing a flat roof with a new sloped roof. This new sloped roof also gave us the opportunity to bring light into the Exam Room Corridor through a series of clerestory windows. A private Office and Library, for the Doctor, were tucked into a mezzanine above the Reception Area. Exam Rooms were furnished to ensure that, through the new dormer windows, patients would enjoy views of the expansive sky.
The Riverside ChurchNew York, New York History The Tower of the Church is a neighborhood landmark, creating a highly visible symbol, for a diverse congregation. The Riverside Church is a force for social and political activism throughout the World Community. Program Four Elevator Cabs serve meeting rooms, classrooms, community offices, rehearsal studios, administrative offices and the library, located throughout the twenty-four floors of the Tower. At the top of the Tower, the elevators bring visitors to the Carillon Bell Terrace, which offers panoramic views of New York City. As part of a Tower Restoration Project, the elevators were modernized to incorporate advanced technology and to meet accessibility requirements. Our Client, the Church Building Committee, requested that the design of the new elevator cabs be in harmony with the existing, architectural fabric of the Church. Response We responded to the rich fabric of the Church by proposing a concept that would center on symbolism, numerology and geometry. In keeping with the social and political activism of the Congregation, we formulated a design vocabulary based upon the Seven Christian Virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice, Fortitude, Prudence and Temperance. The Building Committee selected a symbol to represent each virtue, from a selection of symbols used to depict virtues in Medieval Art and Architecture. Three hundred and sixty-five symbols were screened, as a ‘wallpaper’ pattern, on the nine porcelain enamel wall panels of each elevator cab. We designed a frieze panel, mounted above these wall panels, with repetitive quatrefoils, figurative vine leaves, and alpha and omega symbols. In our research, we found that the vine leaf is symbolic of the work of individuals in the Vineyard of the Lord, and that alpha & omega signifies that the beginning and the end of wisdom is God. There are twenty-four alpha & omega symbols, one for each hour chimed by the Bourbon Bell. There are twelve quatrefoil light fixtures in each cab, the number twelve being symbolic of the Twelve Months of the year, and the Twelve Apostles. The floor is cherry, which symbolizes the sweetness of character derived from the practice of the Seven Virtues. The elevator cab ceiling is divided into nine coffered sections. Nine is symbolic of the nine regions of the world, which is symbolic of the diversity of the Church. There are forty stars, which refer to the forty days of Lent. There are four different stars, symbolic of the Four Gospels, the Four Seasons and the Four Points of the Compass. There is one Six-pointed Star, the Creator’s Star, which is symbolic of the Seven Days of Creation. Our design concept was executed using the colors of green, gold and silver. Green suggests the regeneration of the soul through good works; silver, representing the moon and materiality; and gold, symbolizing the sun and spirituality. This was an extremely engaging project, as we had many spirited discussions with the Pastoral Council and the Building Committee as to the relevancy of symbolism
Metropolitan Opera House New MuseumNew York, New York History In 1989, the Electrical Staff at the Metropolitan Opera House sought a route for new power to be run from the Mechanical Room to the Front Lobby. In drilling into the East wall of the Mechanical Room, they discovered a cavernous, unexcavated area. The removal of a ventilation duct allowed the Electricians to enter this ‘Found Space’. It is located approximately thirty feet below the Main Orchestra Floor. Program The Metropolitan Opera Association requested that we create a new Art Museum and Patron’s Lounge within the Opera House. They proposed that a Feasibility Study be undertaken to determine the viability of converting this ‘Found Space’ into such a Museum and Patron’s Lounge. Their most important directives were that the proposed project not affect the structural stability of the Building, nor the acoustical integrity of the Hall. Response The proposed project area contained large amounts of unexcavated bedrock and debris, remaining from the original construction. In order to determine the feasibility of building in this space, we assembled a team of geotechnical, structural, mechanical, transportation and acoustical consultants. We formulated six key questions for study by the Consultant Team Members, which would be critical to the Project’s viability. Our investigations, preliminary design studies, and recommendations were summarized in a document, entitled “Feasibility Study for a New Museum and Patron’s Lounge,” which was presented to the Board of the Metropolitan Opera Association. Our Study concluded that it would be possible to transform this ‘Found Space’ into a Museum and Patron’s Lounge.
River City ParkHoboken, New Jersey History This is the only parcel of land along the Hoboken Waterfront that remains within the public domain. The land has been vacant, since the Holland American Lines abandoned its maritime operations in the late Fifties. As an ‘unofficial’ fishing pier, ball field and fair ground, the vacant site fulfilled a need for open space. Hoboken, with a dense urban population, falls below the recommended state and federal standards for open space. During the late eighties, however, city officials came under intense pressure to permit high-rise development at the site, as a means of generating revenue for the City. A diverse group of citizens formed a committee to preserve the ‘unofficial’ Park. Program Our Client requested Design Studies and a Model for a new Waterfront Park that would consist of a swimming pool, a fishing pier, a promenade, a small band shell, locker rooms, bathrooms, and equipment storage rooms. They sought suggestions for generating revenue for supporting the operating expenses of the Park. They requested that ‘built’ form be kept to a minimum in order to maximize open space, and in order to intensify the experience of the Manhattan Skyline. Response The site included not only five acres of land along the Hudson River, but it also included underwater acreage. In responding to the Client’s programmatic requirements, a ‘Floating Island’ was proposed that would be constructed on a barge. The size of the ‘Island’ would be based upon the size of an average city block. An oversized swimming pool, surrounded by grass, trees, and a promenade for fishing, running and strolling, would have the Manhattan skyline as a dramatic backdrop. The lower level of the ‘Floating Island’ would house the locker rooms, bathrooms, equipment storage rooms, and various ancillary spaces. The land, along the shoreline, was dedicated as an open meadow for baseball, football, golf putting, blanket reading, napping, and weddings. Above the band shell, a restaurant would provide operating revenue for the Park. An underground walkway, with underwater viewing portals, would connect the ‘Island’ to ‘Land.’ A small boat also would ferry visitors to the ‘Floating Island.’
Strand Theatre StudioBrooklyn, New York History The building originally was built as a Movie Palace in 1919. In 1960, the upper two floors were converted into a bowling alley. The ground floor became retail space. The bowling alley closed in 1970, and the building was abandoned to the ravages of time. Since this building is in the Brooklyn Academy of Music Neighborhood, the NYC Public Development Corporation approached the Academy with a Joint Development Proposal for the building. In 1983, the PDC-BAM Development Corporation began the process of leasing space on a long-term basis to non-profit performing arts groups. Program The Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians had performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s ‘Next Wave Festival’. PDC-BAM approached our Client as a potential tenant for this pioneering project. The proposed space, offered to LDDM, was irregular in shape, with windows located along only one wall. Our Client requested a 2,500 square foot, column-free, Dance Rehearsal Studio with a twenty-five foot high ceiling. Other needs were for a sound proof Musicians Studio, Conference Room, an Archival Storage Room, Offices, Reception Area, Locker Rooms, Bathrooms, and ancillary Storage Rooms. There was a need for a zoned HVAC System, given the varying temperature requirements of the different spaces. Response We found the original drawings of the Strand Movie Palace. We discovered that the long-abandoned Projection Room appeared to be located above the proposed Dance Rehearsal Studio Space. During a subsequent field visit, we confirmed the existence of the abandoned Projection Room. By removing most of the floor of this room, we could accomplish two of our design objectives for the Dance Rehearsal Studio. A dramatic ceiling height, of twenty-five feet, could now be achieved for the Dance Rehearsal Studio. In addition, a new roof skylight would bring natural light into this Studio. The remaining area of the former Projection Room became a Meditation Space.
Porter + TraversNew York, New York History Three young attorneys, who had left one of New York City’s largest law firms, needed an office for their new practice. They chose a 10,000 square foot duplex space, with views North, East and West, at the corner of Park Avenue and Fifty-Seventh Street. Program The Partners wanted a light-filled, sedate and elegant environment, conducive to long hours of teamwork. They requested that we not use materials traditional to ‘law’ offices, such as brass and dark mahogany. Distinctive furniture was to be designed for the Reception Area and the Main Conference Room. The existing open Riser Stair, connecting the two floors, was to be given a prominent design role. Each of the Partners served as board members of various cultural organizations, so they requested a Reception Area large enough to accommodate gatherings. Wall space was to be dedicated to displaying the work of artists and photographers, on a rotating basis. They wanted a functional, working office, but one in which the architecture expressed their spirit. Response Since we had a limited initial budget, our first decision was to work with the existing partition layout on the upper floor of the office. On the lower floor, we created a uniquely large Reception Area, from what had been a labyrinth of small rooms. We transformed the open Riser Stair by enclosing its structural skeleton in drywall, with a wood and glass railing. Seven terra cotta ‘Lotus’ Columns, whose glass capitals acted as lighting fixtures, were the focal point of the Reception Area. The memory of these Lotus Columns was brought into the Main Conference Room. The center portion of the Conference Table was glass, beneath which Lotus Columns could be seen supporting the roof of the Temple of Justice. Our favorite piece of custom designed furniture, though, was a small Telephone Table that could become a basketball hoop, with backboard, for those long nights in the Conference Room.
Tenth AvenueNew York, New York History This five story Tenement Building is a typical ‘cold water’ walk-up, built at the turn of the Century, in the neighborhood known as ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. There are two long, narrow apartments on each floor, with windows facing east and west. The Ground Level was devoted to retail use throughout the history of the building. Though traditionally a poor, but vibrant area, many building owners abandoned their properties during the late 60’s. Many of these buildings, including this one, were taken over by the City of New York. Several of the tenants had made improvements to their apartments, notwithstanding their Landlord’s neglect. The tenants now hoped to legitimize their occupancy, with the goal of purchasing the building from the City of New York. Program After years of negotiation, the City agreed to sell the building to the tenants. The purchase would be accomplished through a ‘sweat equity’ program, contingent upon the renovation of the structure. This work would include the restoration of the exterior façade, including the design of the entry and storefronts. The tenants would be assisted with financing from the NYC Department of Housing, Preservation and Development. Response After removing layers of old plywood, we discovered remnants of the original cornice and cast iron columns of the original shop front. Using these remnants as the basis for our restoration work, we designed new storefronts with a divided-lite window vocabulary. New windows were installed in the refurbished brick façade. Flowers were planted in window boxes, providing a touch of natural green on Tenth Avenue.
O R S ARCHITECTURE, PLLCorsosm@aol.com P.O. Box 2236 Montauk New York 11954 631.668.7618