40 Lispenard Street
July 21, 2015
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Located within the Tribeca East Historic District, 40 Lispenard was erected in 1867. Like many only-in-New York street names, Lispenard was named for an original land owning family. Anthony Lispenard was a refugee from 17th Century France and went on to become a Treasurer of King’s College which developed into Columbia University.
While the cast-iron base and stone elements blend in with the surrounding neighborhood’s architectural style, 40 Lispenard originally possessed several unique architectural features. The Building’s main façade had fallen into a period of disrepair as it suffered from negligence and lack of proper maintenance and restoration for over 60 years. Other portions of the building including roof elements and rear masonry were also left to deteriorate by weather, the elements, and neglect.
DESIGN SOLUTION + MATERIAL AND SYSTEM SELECTION
Sandstone Façade – The original sandstone panels on floors 2-5 were sounded completely to assure structural integrity. Any loose sections were cut and patched in place with single component, cementitious, mineral based repair mortar. Based on the size of the patch, structural stainless steel pins were installed into the back-up structure. Mortar color samples and mock-ups were prepared and reviewed to assure that new and old sections matched historic ones. All stone joints were cut, raked and cleaned. New mortar joints were then installed. As a final measure the sandstone was then cleaned to remove any dirt, debris and particulate matter to restore its historic color.
Cornice and Water Table – The sheet metal cornice above the fifth floor had already been removed. The exposed brick masonry and mortar joints were severely deteriorated. Cracks had developed in the masonry and mortar joints had significantly receded.
Historic photos and the cornice at the adjacent west building were used to prepare
a fiberglass cast for a new decorative cornice. The sheet metal water table above the first floor was nearly nonexistent, only a small rusted through section of the original remained. This section was used as a cast for the replication and replacement of same in fiberglass. Fiberglass is beneficial as it is lighter and less prone to deterioration from the elements, while maintaining the original level of historic ornamental detail.
Prior to installation, the cast-iron beam was scraped down to white bare metal. The metal was then patched, primed and painted. The back-up masonry was repaired to assure structural integrity and water tightness; pins were added for water table support.
Columns and Corinthian Capitals – The two decoratively fluted, square cast-iron columns at the building edge and the two fluted, circular cast-iron columns that divide the storefront into three equal sections were rusted. The condition of the ornamental Corinthian cast-iron capitals varied from ‘lost’ to sections to having lost details such as single leafs. One square section, individual leaves and decorative scrolls were removed for the production of casts to be prepared for fabrication of exact replacements and installation. The columns and capitals were cleaned, stripped down to bare metal, patched as necessary then primed and painted. The LPC was consulted with finish paint colors for approval of the many elements we restored to assure historic accuracy.
Window Restoration – The weight and chain two-over-two double hung wood window frame and single pane glass windows are believed to be original to the building. The windows were no longer operational and were a source of air infiltration. The wood frames were observed to be badly deteriorated and falling apart. With the use of historic window fabricating specialists, profiles of the original windows were obtained and shop drawings provided for review by both this office and LPC. Double paned insulated glass was utilized while still closely maintaining the daylight
opening of the historic windows. All windows were completely removed, with masonry openings prepared with blocking and insulation. Exterior wood casings were replicated.
Storefront – The existing wood framed, metal clad storefront infill was an unsightly mix of doors, transoms and display glass all of different assembly types with absolutely no historical significance or stylistic reference. Window frame profiles were based on the oldest surviving section and on the historic knee wall detail below the display window. The storefront bay for the entry to the loft space above had completely shifted out of plane. Due to the lack of historical photographic evidence, the LPC required a public hearing for the review and approval of the proposed storefront to the local community board and to the LPC Commissioners. The proposed and installed storefront is composed of approximately thirteen foot double doors with glass panels at both the commercial and loft entry. A display window of the same proportions of the double doors was installed at the west bay above the cast iron knee wall. Matching window transoms were designed above the doors and window. The glazing assembly utilized double paned insulated glass to meet and exceed energy and sound reducing design standards as defined in the Department of City Planning North Tribeca rezoning requirements. The LPC was consulted on historic paint colors at the infill frame to assure historic accuracy.
This project team is very proud of the work executed on this project. The historic integrity of the building has been restored to this once deteriorated mish mash of a building.
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