Best Specialty Contracting

One of the most comprehensive restorations of a cast-iron building in New York's history, this $15-million project aimed to preserve the 19th-century five-story structure that served as residence and studio for the late sculptor Donald Judd. The structure is the only intact single-use cast-iron building that remains in Manhattan's SoHo district.

The project team performed extensive restoration of the outer shell and sidewalk while simultaneously working on the interior. The entire exoskeleton was removed and the building pinned in place so that the interior work could be done.

Work included the removal of 1,300 pieces of cast iron for refurbishment at a foundry off site and the recasting of about 430 of them. Interior renovations included new office space for the Judd Foundation, new foundation and structural elements, as well as a complete mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrade.

The team's guiding philosophy on the project was to keep as much original material as possible. Thus, when elements required replacement due to irreparable damage, the team opted for traditional fabrication methods and materials—rather than more cost-effective plastic materials—for greater historical accuracy.

One of the hurdles the team faced was in devising ways to weave new mechanical equipment, piping and ductwork behind walls and into small spaces. Crews placed mechanical equipment on the roof, which had to be rebuilt with new steel structural elements to support the weight.

Construction began in September 2010 with substantial completion in late 2012. The project came in under budget and on time.

"Every cast-iron piece was removed and taken to an outside facility," said one ENR New York judge, noting the team's attention to detail. He and the other judges praised the care the team took in its efforts to "do it right."

The project was among those awarded this year's Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award—The New York Landmarks Conservancy's highest honor for outstanding preservation efforts.

Judd Foundation, New York

Key Players

Owner/Developer Judd Foundation

Owner's Representative Levien & Co.

Construction Manager Sciame Construction

Lead Designer Architecture Research Office

Civil Engineer Langan Engineering & Environmental Services

Structural Engineer Robert Silman Associates

MEP, Fire and Life Safety Engineer/Acoustical Consultant Arup

Click Here to View Related Article