“In 2005 the Judd Foundation—including the artist’s son,Flavin Judd, and daughter, Rainer Judd—decided to restore 101 Spring, which remained a repository of the artist’s work after his death in 1994, and open it to the public for the first time. The project posed complex challenges in terms of bringing the building up to code and accommodating visitors. “We wanted to retain the character of a house and studio,” says Michele Saliola,director of programs for the foundation.
The project’s scope encompassed both major work on the building’s exterior and radical surgery on its interiors. Adding all the new mechanical systems meant “essentially inserting a new building inside the existing one, while making everything invisible,” explains Adam Yarinsky, the principal in charge of the project for Architecture Research Office (ARO), the firm overseeing the renovation.
Working with Walter B. Melvin Architects (exterior restoration) and Robert Silman Associates (structural engineering), ARO restored the building to the look of its1970s glory days as a hotbed of artistic creation, not its original 1870s sweatshop mode—a decision approved by New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
They repainted it the color Judd used (battleship gray), not the cream tone from the 19th century. Inside, they kept the fluid, open areas Judd created for his work and family. They even restored a secret cupboard-like space tucked under the building’s main stair on the second floor, which Rainer revealed to this writer on a recent visit and explained was used by her and her brother to put on puppet shows. ARO inserted restrooms and offices for the Judd Foundation in the cellar and meeting rooms in the subcellar, with restored glass blocks in the sidewalk bringing daylight to both lower levels. A new steel-plate stair at the north end of the building provides access to the two floors below the street.
On the exterior, Robert Bates of Walter B. Melvin Architects oversaw the work of stripping and restoring in placethe cast-iron columns, removing and restoring all window frames and spandrel panels, and recasting 320 pieces of architectural ironwork such as broken capitals and cornices. He replaced all the glass above the first floor with insulated double glazing, using restoration glass that imitates the original on the inside and low-iron glass on the outside.
To accommodate a new air-handling system, sprinkler pipes, electrical conduit, and security and fire alarms, ARO waged a stealth architectural insurgency on the original building envelope—finding ingenious ways of weaving new mechanical equipment behind walls and in small spaces stolen from old uses. Some of that space was liberated by placing major mechanical equipment on the roof, which had to be rebuilt with new steel structural elements to support the weight.
Completion Date: June 2013
Gross square footage: 14,500 square feet (including below grade levels) “ –Architectural Record