The project is a careful intervention that balances the adaptive reuse and long-term sustainable preservation of the building with the need to reveal, explore, and enhance its original expression, restoring its significance and original design exuberance rather than resorting to the empty recreation of its features.
Built in 1880 as both a military and a social club for the prestigious “Silk Stocking Regiment”, the Seventh Regiment Armory houses a rare collection of significant period rooms designed by the most prominent artists and designers of the time. In contrast to the ornate reception and Company rooms, the soaring Drill Hall, with its graceful arched trusses and immense scale, has a distinctly industrial character. Despite having been designated a City, State and National Historic Landmark, after suffering decades of neglect, in 2000 the Armory was listed on the World Monument Fund’s “100 Most Endangered Historic Sites.”
Since 2006, PBDW has been working with Herzog and de Meuron and the Park Avenue Armory Conservancy to bring the Armory back to life as a vibrant new visual and performing arts venue. PBDW is Executive Architect for the restoration project, which entails meticulous rehabilitation of the building and its historic spaces, surgical insertion of modern infrastructure, and the careful integration of new stairs, elevators and support spaces.
The work completed to date underscores the special character and potential of the building, and has allowed the Park Avenue Armory to flourish as a venue for the arts. With programs ranging from large-scale art installations to musical spectacles and opera to one-of-a-kind performance art pieces, the Armory is unlike any other setting in the city, and its productions have already garnered international acclaim.