Harlem Stage Gatehouse

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

New York, NY

The 135th Street Gatehouse, located in Harlem and completed in 1890 as part of the New Croton Aqueduct system. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, this gem of a building became a NYC-designated landmark in 1981 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. However, in 1989, the building was decommissioned by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection. Although recognized as a significant landmark, without a use, the structure languished for approximately 15 years, contributing to the blighted landscape of the neighborhood, overgrown with vegetation, covered in graffiti, the sky shining through its dilapidated slate roof, its future uncertain. Fortunately, under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the building has been reinvented as the Gatehouse providing a theater venue for Harlem Stage.

Working with Ohlhausen Dubois Architects, the main level of the restored Gatehouse incorporates a 196-seat theater with a hardwood floor, as well as telescopic and demountable platform seating that allows for maximum flexibility. With the excavation of the existing sand/soil fill in the original valve chambers and the removal of the granite-and-brick interior chamber walls, two new lower floors were created. Along Convent Avenue a new entrance, in a contemporary design, was cut into the existing battered-masonry wall, thus connecting the theater lobby, box office/information desk and handicapped restrooms with the street. The remaining floor area on this middle level was partitioned into dressing rooms with bathrooms, a stage manager’s office, green rooms and a large stagecraft area under the apse. A new one-story addition to the Gatehouse along the south façade contains a freight lift to the theater-floor level for large equipment/stagecraft. The lowest level has a public foyer accessed from the tower elevator/stair, the main restrooms and a coat check area. The remaining floor space is office space for Harlem Stage staff and mechanical equipment, boiler room, electric-service room and water/gas-meter room. 

As part of the restoration/adaptive reuse efforts, the exterior sandstone-and-granite walls were carefully cleaned and re-pointed. The temporary roof was removed and a new slate roof installed replicating the original. The existing steel doors were restored and new cast-iron windows fabricated including stained-glass transoms based on salvaged pieces of glass. Exterior railings were removed and missing cast-iron medallions recreated and reinstalled. At the interior, the polychromatic brickwork was gently cleaned while still maintaining the patina of time. All preservation work was designed by Architectural Preservation Studio staff, under WASA, in accordance with Secretary of Interior’s Standards.

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

New York, NY

The 135th Street Gatehouse, located in Harlem and completed in 1890 as part of the New Croton Aqueduct system. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, this gem of a building became a NYC-designated landmark in 1981 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. However, in 1989, the building was decommissioned by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection. Although recognized as a significant landmark, without a use, the structure languished for approximately 15 years, contributing to the blighted landscape of the neighborhood, overgrown with vegetation, covered in graffiti, the sky shining through its dilapidated slate roof, its future uncertain. Fortunately, under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the building has been reinvented as the Gatehouse providing a theater venue for Harlem Stage.

Working with Ohlhausen Dubois Architects, the main level of the restored Gatehouse incorporates a 196-seat theater with a hardwood floor, as well as telescopic and demountable platform seating that allows for maximum flexibility. With the excavation of the existing sand/soil fill in the original valve chambers and the removal of the granite-and-brick interior chamber walls, two new lower floors were created. Along Convent Avenue a new entrance, in a contemporary design, was cut into the existing battered-masonry wall, thus connecting the theater lobby, box office/information desk and handicapped restrooms with the street. The remaining floor area on this middle level was partitioned into dressing rooms with bathrooms, a stage manager’s office, green rooms and a large stagecraft area under the apse. A new one-story addition to the Gatehouse along the south façade contains a freight lift to the theater-floor level for large equipment/stagecraft. The lowest level has a public foyer accessed from the tower elevator/stair, the main restrooms and a coat check area. The remaining floor space is office space for Harlem Stage staff and mechanical equipment, boiler room, electric-service room and water/gas-meter room. 

As part of the restoration/adaptive reuse efforts, the exterior sandstone-and-granite walls were carefully cleaned and re-pointed. The temporary roof was removed and a new slate roof installed replicating the original. The existing steel doors were restored and new cast-iron windows fabricated including stained-glass transoms based on salvaged pieces of glass. Exterior railings were removed and missing cast-iron medallions recreated and reinstalled. At the interior, the polychromatic brickwork was gently cleaned while still maintaining the patina of time. All preservation work was designed by Architectural Preservation Studio staff, under WASA, in accordance with Secretary of Interior’s Standards.

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

New York, NY

The 135th Street Gatehouse, located in Harlem and completed in 1890 as part of the New Croton Aqueduct system. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, this gem of a building became a NYC-designated landmark in 1981 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. However, in 1989, the building was decommissioned by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection. Although recognized as a significant landmark, without a use, the structure languished for approximately 15 years, contributing to the blighted landscape of the neighborhood, overgrown with vegetation, covered in graffiti, the sky shining through its dilapidated slate roof, its future uncertain. Fortunately, under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the building has been reinvented as the Gatehouse providing a theater venue for Harlem Stage.

Working with Ohlhausen Dubois Architects, the main level of the restored Gatehouse incorporates a 196-seat theater with a hardwood floor, as well as telescopic and demountable platform seating that allows for maximum flexibility. With the excavation of the existing sand/soil fill in the original valve chambers and the removal of the granite-and-brick interior chamber walls, two new lower floors were created. Along Convent Avenue a new entrance, in a contemporary design, was cut into the existing battered-masonry wall, thus connecting the theater lobby, box office/information desk and handicapped restrooms with the street. The remaining floor area on this middle level was partitioned into dressing rooms with bathrooms, a stage manager’s office, green rooms and a large stagecraft area under the apse. A new one-story addition to the Gatehouse along the south façade contains a freight lift to the theater-floor level for large equipment/stagecraft. The lowest level has a public foyer accessed from the tower elevator/stair, the main restrooms and a coat check area. The remaining floor space is office space for Harlem Stage staff and mechanical equipment, boiler room, electric-service room and water/gas-meter room. 

As part of the restoration/adaptive reuse efforts, the exterior sandstone-and-granite walls were carefully cleaned and re-pointed. The temporary roof was removed and a new slate roof installed replicating the original. The existing steel doors were restored and new cast-iron windows fabricated including stained-glass transoms based on salvaged pieces of glass. Exterior railings were removed and missing cast-iron medallions recreated and reinstalled. At the interior, the polychromatic brickwork was gently cleaned while still maintaining the patina of time. All preservation work was designed by Architectural Preservation Studio staff, under WASA, in accordance with Secretary of Interior’s Standards.

Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC)

Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC)

Queens, NY

This project involved the adaptive reuse of the abandoned 1858-59 First Reformed Church of Jamaica—a state-, national- and NYC-designated landmark—to a performing arts center serving Jamaica’s ethnically and culturally diverse communities. Under WASA, the professional staff of Architectural Preservation Studio, as a consultant to the NYC Department of Design and Construction, worked with in-house designers to develop a plan to create a state-of-the-art performance space while preserving the historic character of the building.

The adaptive reuse involved transforming the church into a theater space, with about 325 seats on the main level and 75 seats in the balcony. The main level is designed as a totally flexible space, equipped to house a variety of seating and stage configurations and, in addition, to accommodate banquet facilities. The third floor features a modern conference center for community use, complete with a direct line of site to the stage. Support spaces were implemented in the basement, requiring excavation and underpinning of what was essentially a crawl space. An elevator was inserted in one of the two towers, providing for accessibility.

Our design restored the building’s brick-and-brownstone façades and windows—including three stained-glass windows facing Jamaica Avenue—while salvaging other deteriorated stained-glass panels. The church’s remaining windows were returned to their original design—a diamond pattern outlined by slender lead cames. New slate and flat-seam copper roofs were installed to replace the original deteriorated ones. The brownstone entrance stairs were redesigned to create monumental stairs that double for casual outdoor seating. At the interior, original decorative wood trim at the balcony, stage front, and window perimeters was salvaged and reinstalled. Cast-iron columns that formerly supported the balcony, whose steep incline necessitated its redesign, were restored and relocated to the conference center.

Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC)

Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC)

Queens, NY

This project involved the adaptive reuse of the abandoned 1858-59 First Reformed Church of Jamaica—a state-, national- and NYC-designated landmark—to a performing arts center serving Jamaica’s ethnically and culturally diverse communities. Under WASA, the professional staff of Architectural Preservation Studio, as a consultant to the NYC Department of Design and Construction, worked with in-house designers to develop a plan to create a state-of-the-art performance space while preserving the historic character of the building.

The adaptive reuse involved transforming the church into a theater space, with about 325 seats on the main level and 75 seats in the balcony. The main level is designed as a totally flexible space, equipped to house a variety of seating and stage configurations and, in addition, to accommodate banquet facilities. The third floor features a modern conference center for community use, complete with a direct line of site to the stage. Support spaces were implemented in the basement, requiring excavation and underpinning of what was essentially a crawl space. An elevator was inserted in one of the two towers, providing for accessibility.

Our design restored the building’s brick-and-brownstone façades and windows—including three stained-glass windows facing Jamaica Avenue—while salvaging other deteriorated stained-glass panels. The church’s remaining windows were returned to their original design—a diamond pattern outlined by slender lead cames. New slate and flat-seam copper roofs were installed to replace the original deteriorated ones. The brownstone entrance stairs were redesigned to create monumental stairs that double for casual outdoor seating. At the interior, original decorative wood trim at the balcony, stage front, and window perimeters was salvaged and reinstalled. Cast-iron columns that formerly supported the balcony, whose steep incline necessitated its redesign, were restored and relocated to the conference center.

Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC)

Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC)

Queens, NY

This project involved the adaptive reuse of the abandoned 1858-59 First Reformed Church of Jamaica—a state-, national- and NYC-designated landmark—to a performing arts center serving Jamaica’s ethnically and culturally diverse communities. Under WASA, the professional staff of Architectural Preservation Studio, as a consultant to the NYC Department of Design and Construction, worked with in-house designers to develop a plan to create a state-of-the-art performance space while preserving the historic character of the building.

The adaptive reuse involved transforming the church into a theater space, with about 325 seats on the main level and 75 seats in the balcony. The main level is designed as a totally flexible space, equipped to house a variety of seating and stage configurations and, in addition, to accommodate banquet facilities. The third floor features a modern conference center for community use, complete with a direct line of site to the stage. Support spaces were implemented in the basement, requiring excavation and underpinning of what was essentially a crawl space. An elevator was inserted in one of the two towers, providing for accessibility.

Our design restored the building’s brick-and-brownstone façades and windows—including three stained-glass windows facing Jamaica Avenue—while salvaging other deteriorated stained-glass panels. The church’s remaining windows were returned to their original design—a diamond pattern outlined by slender lead cames. New slate and flat-seam copper roofs were installed to replace the original deteriorated ones. The brownstone entrance stairs were redesigned to create monumental stairs that double for casual outdoor seating. At the interior, original decorative wood trim at the balcony, stage front, and window perimeters was salvaged and reinstalled. Cast-iron columns that formerly supported the balcony, whose steep incline necessitated its redesign, were restored and relocated to the conference center.