Oculus - Fall 2016 - 35

A Preservation Paradox The reuse of an architecturally and culturally significant Harlem block for low-income housing illustrates struggles to overcome absurdities in the treatment of historic structures ©Bernstein Associates BY JONATHAN LERNER FEATURE F or the leafy block of West 114th Street between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Boulevards, two factors secured designation as a National Register Historic District: a landmarked 1902 Collegiate Revival school, and an intact swath of original Harlem residential building fabric. The latter consists of 36 circa-1895 "Old Law" tenements with mildly ornate Renaissance Revival façades in brownstone, limestone, and terra cotta. Lining both sides of the street, they have an agreeable scale, repetition, and stylistic consistency. In the late 1960s, they were acquired by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), renovated, and named for the civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph. Now the Randolph Houses are being renovated again, in a partnership between NYCHA and Trinity Financial, with the aid of federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. The design, by SLCE Architects, offers a mix of public and affordable housing. But a rigid approach to the preservation requirements that flowed with the tax credits has severely impaired the buildings' functionality and street life. Work has only begun on the 14 buildings on the north side of the street, but the 22 on the south side are finished and occupied. Where there had been 432 cramped units, a gut rehab has produced 168, ranging from 400-square-foot studios to 1,350-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bath apartments. A defining feature of Old Law buildings is the narrow air shafts that deliver dim light and meager drafts of air to inner rooms. The 1970s renovation left 110 rooms on each floor in the south side buildings with windows that opened only onto the claustrophobic airways. Now that number is reduced to 11. The separate tenements have been merged into two buildings, each served by a central corridor on each floor. And now each has only one entrance at sidewalk level. (The 14 buildings on the north side will be similarly merged into one.) That '70s show The new single entries are necessary for accessibility, management efficiency, and Authenticity + Innovation: Architecture Repurposed Fall 2016 Oculus 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Fall 2016

First Words Letter from the President
Letter from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: Authenticity and Innovation
Civic Purpose Repurposed: Brooklyn
Civic Purpose Repurposed: Bronx
A Study in Contrasts
WeLive on Wall Street
A Preservation Paradox
Industrial Strength
Innovation Rooted in History
In Print
97-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Fall 2016 - cover1
Oculus - Fall 2016 - cover2
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 3
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 4
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 5
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 6
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 7
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 8
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 9
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 10
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 11
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 12
Oculus - Fall 2016 - First Words Letter from the President
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 14
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Letter from the Editor
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 16
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 17
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Center for Architecture
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 19
Oculus - Fall 2016 - One Block Over
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 21
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 22
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 23
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 24
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Opener: Authenticity and Innovation
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Civic Purpose Repurposed: Brooklyn
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 27
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Civic Purpose Repurposed: Bronx
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 29
Oculus - Fall 2016 - A Study in Contrasts
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 31
Oculus - Fall 2016 - WeLive on Wall Street
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 33
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 34
Oculus - Fall 2016 - A Preservation Paradox
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 36
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 37
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Industrial Strength
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 39
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 40
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 41
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Innovation Rooted in History
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 43
Oculus - Fall 2016 - In Print
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 97-Year Watch
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 46
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Last Words
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 49
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 50
Oculus - Fall 2016 - cover3
Oculus - Fall 2016 - cover4
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