AMERICAS SOCIETY 680 Park Avenue Upper East Side Manhattan
For the last 11 years ongoing, our firm has served as the restoration architect for this NYC and Federal-landmarked mansion, which serves as a cultural center, conference facility and headquarter offices of the Americas Society, the preeminent organization fostering economic and societal cooperation among the countries of South America.
Standing on the corner of 68th Street since 1912, this building anchors the Pyne-Davison block, the only remaining group of 6-story townhouses on Park Avenue; this block established a standard of architectural quality and decorum that was a model for the early decades of Upper East Side Development.
The design of 680 Park Ave is a refined example of the architect McKim Mead and White’s neo-classical revival style; drawing upon a diverse vocabulary of precedents spanning Greco-Roman, Italian Renaissance, English Regency and American Federalist Architecture.
Our firm authored the first comprehensive Condition Survey & Capital Improvement Report, which was the catalyst to project funding that included a grant from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs. We were hired as the building’s architect to prepare plans and oversee construction on six phases of work resulting in a complete historic restoration of entire building:
2014 Bluestone Curb Sidewalks, Tree Pits, Areaway Gratings & Service Lift
2016 Redesigned Entrance
2019 Wood Window Replacement
2020 Slate and Copper Mansard Roofing Replacement
2021 Exterior Masonry & Stonework Repairs 2021
2021 Interior Retrofit of Art Gallery & Gallery Office
The existing windows were approximately 100 years old and deteriorated beyond reasonable repair. We found bare paint, split and rotted wood on the exterior. The occupants experienced drafts from the single pane glass with air and water infiltration at the unsealed, uninsulated perimeter of the frames.
Our firm replicated the original design while incorporating double pane insulated glass units with simulated divided lites to greatly improve thermal performance. The U-value - a measure of heat loss and transfer between interior and exterior was reduced by almost 75%, meeting the current energy code criteria of 28 BTU/hr/sf for wood windows on new buildings. When coupled with adjustments to the building’s heating and cooling systems, the building can achieve energy cost savings in the range of a 30% reduction.
As an added bonus, the new windows significantly reduce traffic noise from Park Avenue by sound attenuation, which the architect achieved by specifying uneven thickness of inside/outside glass in the insulated glass unit.
We researched the experience of various window companies especially considering their capability to manufacture the unusually tall 11-foot high operable wood windows we required. The durability of wood species, paint/stain finishes, and historic millwork profiles were also important factors to be evaluated.
The entire window project was overseen and inspected by our firm. We made sure that the perimeter of every window opening was properly waterproofed with membrane and exterior sealant, then insulated with mineral wool to prevent thermal bridging. Our firm tested the operation, tilt-clean function, and locking mechanism on every window - while coordinating with service reps to make needed field adjustments. A certified testing lab was brought on-site to perform air and water infiltration tests.
Every aspect of this historic window replacement - both in the drawn details and material samples - was subject to scrutiny and approval of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The new windows were designed to closely match original configurations, muntin bar profiles and brickmoulds. We selected custom hardware for sash finger pulls and locks consistent with the originals.
The window installation was designed in such a manner as to minimize disturbance to the intricate interior millwork. This involved removing and replacing the wood casings and taking advantage of the width of the original sash chain pockets to position and anchor the new windows into the existing masonry wall.