Webster Hall Renovation
New York City
Award of Merit
Owner: BSE Global
Lead Design Firm: OTJ Architects
General Contractor: Shawmut Design and Construction
Restoring, modernizing and upgrading a famed music hall without losing its iconic features is no small feat. The effort to reshape Webster Hall in Manhattan’s East Village offered plenty of obstacles as it underwent the first full renovation in its 133-year history.
With landmark status, the exterior was an obvious challenge, requiring Landmarks Preservation Commission approval for all updates, like removing brick flower petals, terra-cotta fluting and exposed brick throughout the exteriors and salvaging or custom-matching each piece for reinstallation. But inside, the team made substantial improvements, replacing timber beams with steel to strengthen the structure, and restoring the marble staircase and herringbone floors. Workers also abated the entire roof, adding structural steel to support new mechanical equipment.
The team also added many new elements to the venue, which reopened in April, including dressing rooms, four staircases, an elevator, sprinkler and fire alarm systems, air conditioning, a lobby bar and a street-level entrance. The changes improved access, transformed underused features and upgraded substandard spaces.