Founded in 1968 by the namesake trio (John H. Beyer, Richard Blinder, and John Belle) the firm has evolved into an internationally acclaimed firm dealing with commercial, residential, interiors, educational, and cultural projects specializing in historic preservation and Planning & Urban Design. Rising to prominence in the time of the urban renewal movement their social mission was to change the architectural fabric of the community focusing on connection and interaction emphasizing architecture as a way of life. Their design focuses on the history and heritage of the building and its environment, making the best use of present advancement and techniques, to create a building that contributes to a sustainable future. Some of their best and acclaimed works come under historic preservation and urban design.

Rethinking The Future Awards 2022

1. Empire State Building

One of the most significant and iconic landmarks of New York, this building went under restoration and renovation from 2007 to 2009.  The vision behind this project was to bring back the original art deco lobby with all its elements, which have lost its essence due to multiple modifications over the years, incorporating new technology in terms of lighting for efficiency. The project had two years of research studying the building’s original plans, blueprints, architectural elements, photos to help bring back the lobby to its original version. Further, a new plan was created addressing various issues of the building in terms of planning and design.

Empire state building Source- ©Beyer Blinder Belle

2. Grand Central Terminal

The world’s largest and busiest transit hub went under renovation to revive the building by multiple additions in terms of retail redevelopment, extra entrances and further rethinking the circulation and movement inside the building. A huge billboard was removed to make use of the large windows for ample natural lighting to enter the hall. The famous monumental staircase was part of the original plan which was utilized during the renovation. The constellation ceiling was restored after 9 months of rigorous cleaning of dust which resulted due to aggressive smoke. A significant building during the time of world war 2 it has many hidden architectural secrets. Many ramps were rethought and utilized into storefronts and entrances. The revival helped the station reidentify into a multi-use transit hub with a variety of retail and public spaces but restoring its historical essence.

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Grand Central Terminal Source- ©6sqft

3. Carnegie Library

This extensive masonry repair project focused on restoring the historic architectural details of this beaux-arts building such as the exterior façade, ceiling detailing, etc., The project’s mission was to restore or recreate deteriorated parts of the building with the original plan instead of replacing it. Energy-efficient lighting replaced the older versions in windows. The older skylight has been replaced to bring light well into the interiors. The idea behind this was the juxtaposition of the old and new as told by Sir Jonathan Ive, propelled by a very sustainable agenda.

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Carnegie library Source- ©Beyer Blinder Belle

4. Beacon Theatre

This iconic landmark of pop culture’s restoration employed over 1000 artisans, craftsmen, and tradesmen. It mainly involved the upgrade of technology in terms of electricity, plumbing, and audio to meet the current needs at the same time keeping in mind its rich architectural context. The original interiors were a mix of Greek, Roman, Renaissance, and Rococo styles. The restoration included the 2,829 seat theatre, retail, and public spaces, backstage, and back of house areas. The modernization was infused in terms of functionality of the building, while the aesthetical heritage was made to be retained making this one of the most acclaimed restoration projects.

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Beacon theatre Source- ©Behind the scenes NYC

5. New York Botanical Garden

When the project of this New York City’s landmark went under restoration to its original structure, it was in a seriously deteriorated state after having gone through years of alterations. Even then, the multiple alterations failed to address the environmental and maintenance issues the building had over the years. Hence the restoration focussed on stabilizing the steel framing system, minimizing the degree of lead-based coating, and implementing hi-tech ventilation and humidity systems.

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New York Botanical Garden Source- ©Beyer Blinder Belle

6. Princeton University

To accommodate the academic expansion and contemporary needs, the 262 years old building’s plan was rethought to promote efficient circulation, albeit its park-like character in terms of architectural features. The restoration was an integration of the old and new, where the significance of the building was enhanced at the same time rebuilding its efficiency in terms of transit and ecology involving sustainable landscape design. 

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Princeton University Source- ©Princeton University

7. Ellis Island

This project has surpassed more than two decades of planning, design, and restoration, where one of the busiest Immigration inspection stations has been re-designed, to serve a greater purpose. The project which is still ongoing in which the most notable restoration was the adaptive reuse of the main building into a museum serving as a year time capsule capturing the history of almost 12 million immigrants who had their fresh new start in America. The building has also been divided into various spaces to serve various needs like public gathering space, assembly space, library, kitchen and laundry, Bakery, and Carpentry, among other amenities. This 3,95,000 sq.ft space is an amalgamation of the past and present with modernity infused in history.

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Ellis Island Source- ©Beyer Blinder Belle

8. ’21’ Club

One of the most historic and illustrious restaurants in the city, the restoration was to redesign the lower space into a cocktail bar, and utilizing the upper-space for dining. The new plan had a more open approach enabling better flow and accessibility. The lower-space, which is now the bar, had hints of modernity in its elements although trying to recreate its antique, iconic look of the bar counter with the use of large mirrors and marble and granite. The restoration also included new decorative lighting, coffered ceiling, and traditional moldings along with an upgraded HVAC system.

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21 Club Source- ©Beyer Blinder Belle

9. Morgan Library and Museum

The renovation mainly focused on two things: Integrating the iconic three landmarks of the building with three new steel and glass pavilions rendered underground having a modernistic exterior approach but was sensitive to its historic environment. Restoring period furniture, fixture ornamentation, and murals were also a part of this project. The restoration oversaw a new lighting strategy which also included the reinstallation of original chandeliers whose function was to highlight the architectural features of the building in a subtle yet elegant way. Further, it also saw the addition of retail space, office space, exhibition preparation space, and 275 seats underground auditorium along with electrical upgrades.

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The Morgan library and museum Source- ©themorgan.org

10. New York City hall

The architects made a mark with the rehabilitation project of the New York City Hall by successfully infusing the 21st-century technology features into the 19th century iconic building. The project mainly focused on addressing deficiencies and shortages of the building leading to its deterioration, compromising its structural and architectural integrity over the years. Other than that, it included multiple upgrades in terms of safety, sustainability, and electricity like PV solar rays and gas generated fuel cells.

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NY city hall Source- ©New York Post

11. The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

Repair, stabilization, reinforcement, and restoration were the key agendas for this project of almost a century-old Italian renaissance style cathedral. Years of modernization has resulted in the need for a design approach which implemented unifying aesthetics. During this renovation, the original dome was opened and rebuilt. The mission of the project was also to enable the building to run its course for another century. Hence the necessary upgrades were also made, keeping a sustainable future in mind. And to form a unifying aesthetics, all the interior walls were painted back to their original design.

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Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Source- ©Beyer Blinder Belle

12. Brooklyn Navy Yard building 77

This project was an adaptive reuse of the 1942 world war-2 era building served navy operations into a commercial and light industrial hub. Being the largest building in the 300-acre campus it consists of 9,70,000 sq.ft of area and 18 stories. The project was divided into phases, which spanned over years, to provide a clear plan and approach out of which the first was understand and comprehend the existing structure and its conditions and infer the necessary changes to be made followed by altering core and shell followed by designing the suites multi-tenant suites for several floors. The second phase involved the addition of windows into the reinforced concrete wall bringing in ample daylight. The building’s exterior graphics were designed by the architects to give the building a modern approach. Revitalization of the building provided a 1942 world war-2 ex-warehouse, a sleek and modernistic approach to become a commercial and light industrial hub.

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Brooklyn navy yard Source- ©Marvel Architects

13. BBB office

This 54,000 square feet office space located on the 20th floor of an equitable insurance building in New York was completed in the year 2014 with a LEED gold certification. The Innovative H plan offers an open approach clearly distinguishing spaces in the two sides of the ‘H’ as either public or office. The central area which connects both sides of the office becomes a shared multi-purpose space with an adjacent kitchen and café. The office is infused with ample openness, natural light, and gorgeous views on both sides. 

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Beyer Blinder Belle office Source- ©Beyer Blinder Belle

14. 70 west 93rd street

The project reimagined an underused space in front of a 30-year-old residential tower into a vibrant street-level retail-front, which eventually provides an enhancing pedestrian experience and transforms unutilized 15000 sq.ft of space into profitable retail properties. Further, the project also included amenities such as landscaped outdoor terraces, a children’s playground, a repositioned entrance lobby, etc., The exterior of the retail front was modern with transparent and a smooth façade.

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70th West 93rd street Source- ©Beyer Blinder Belle

15. The Hepburn

Placed adjacent to the landmark Washington Hilton, the project’s biggest challenge was complementing the architect’s original form and structure and building around it. The building’s design uses its unconventional form to its strength by placing a contrasting glass façade to the concrete grid-work helps in bringing the building a modern and bold approach, also complementing the building’s double arc form. The terrace is utilized with multiple amenities like a pool to highlight the views. The residence also holds various public spaces inside the building to build communication socialization among residents.

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The Hepburn Source- ©Architect Magazine
Author

Kamalavinayagam is a passionate designer and a self-taught writer whose interests also include films, food and music. She is an avid learner who is here to research, analyze and understand different fields of design and provide her take on how they influence the world.

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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022