Getting to know Lexi Graham
March 2, 2021
Alexandra Graham, Senior Project Manager, who many refer to as “Lexi,” is known for her strong passion and extensive expertise in historic preservation. With more than 13 years of experience, Lexi plays a major role in managing some of our most intricate, large scale projects from initial investigations to extensive design planning and construction administration of many multi-phased jobs. She approaches projects with a strong understanding of traditional building materials and methodologies as well as incorporating new cutting-edge technologies and repair alternatives when appropriate.
At HLZAE, we work closely with building owners, management companies, city agencies like the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and other historic ordinances such as the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to protect the original fabric and historic significance of the city’s structures. Our team assesses a building’s character defining features with the state of deterioration, contributing factors and past repair history to compile an appropriate scope of work. The compiled scope not only considers the importance of the historic and structural integrity of a building but also the financial planning.
Lexi’s admiration for architecture stems from a young age. Growing up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, an area rich with historic architecture, she developed a passion for preserving the historical character of structures. She was fascinated by how modern architecture could be integrated with existing historic structures while maintaining a building’s original integrity. Lexi’s enthusiasm for historic architecture led her to study in Florence, Italy and eventually Savanah College of Art and Design where she earned degrees in both Historic Preservation & Architecture. Lexi stays true to her roots in continuing a career where she specializes in restoration but just at a slightly larger scale than her small hometown. There are constant reminders in New York City that connect Lexi to where she grew up. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of them as it was designed by John Roebling, the same engineer who designed the Riegelsville Bridge, which she crosses every time she visits her family.
Working to preserve the unique examples of the city’s architectural history is the challenge Lexi loves and finds most rewarding. She enjoys collaborating with colleagues and consultants to achieve appropriate solutions for problems that arise in the field. She appreciates the diversity of meeting with board members and then hours later transitioning her office out into the field. Each day is different, sometimes unpredictable but never dull. Lexi’s professional experience working as a project manager for both contractors and architects has given her the advantage to experience the industry from both sides of the spectrum, which has helped her to approach situations from a more practical manner. She is currently working on two projects which she considers near the top of her favorites list.
B’nai Jeshurun Congregation located on the Upper West Side and The Cast Iron building in the heart of Greenwich Village. One of the many projects HLZAE is working on at B’nai Jeshurun consists of an Exterior Envelope Restoration Program of two Landmarked structures listed on the National Register. The programs at Community House and Synagogue both encompass extensive planning and multi-phased construction seasons to restore the existing ornate details of the rusticated stone, terra cotta, limestone, granite, and copper historic elements.
67 East 11th Street (the Cast Iron Building), another one of Lexi’s favorites, was one of the first manufacturing buildings converted to residential in New York City in the early 1970’s. She sees past the extensive deterioration and admires the remaining intact details and striking cast iron components of a structure that became an early example of adaptative reuse (commercial use to residential) in New York City. A role model to a significant movement that paved the way for many similar projects, which in return reinvented neighborhoods and shaped New York City into what it is today. Lexi and her team are currently overseeing the restoration of the building’s exterior envelope to preserve what remains of a timeless piece of New York’s City’s history. The restoration will include but is not limited to lead abatement, cataloging cast iron components, various cast iron and sheet metal repairs/replacement, waterproofing and recoating of all metal surfaces.
At HLZAE, we integrate our inspection, design, and construction services to prolong the lifespan of buildings. With each project, we evaluate the alternatives for traditional versus contemporary repair techniques and advise clients on decisions subject to landmark requirements. When it comes to historic preservation, you can always count on Lexi Graham and our team of architects and engineers!
When Lexi steps away from building restoration, she dives right into fitness, traveling and… horseback riding! She has been an equestrian for most of her life, competing at a top echelon level. One of her favorite New York City buildings is the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House for its intricate detail and exemplary Beaux-Arts style of the City Beautiful Movement.
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