A Historic Manhattan School Receives a 21st-century Facade that Looks Like the Original but Performs Better

Nelligan White Architects, PS 158, Metamorphosis Awards

The Bayard Taylor School (PS 158) has been welcoming and educating students on Manhattan’s Upper East Side since the 1890s. Designed by C.B.J. Snyder, the school is one of hundreds of school buildings that organize and delineate New York City neighborhoods.

After a century of patchwork repairs and deferred maintenance along with a fateful decision to remove, rather than repair, a monumental projecting cornice that originally graced the building, the Bayard Taylor School’s façade was so seriously deteriorated it spread to the interior finishes. New York-based Nelligan White Architects PLLC was commissioned by the New York City School Construction Authority to document the extent of deterioration and develop a plan for restoration.

PHOTOS: (c) Nelligan White Architects PLLC/Sylvia Hardy

Throughout the building, Nelligan White Architects’ team observed water penetration and building-wide damage to interior finishes caused by a combination of modern masonry repair failures with the deterioration of the backup masonry and mortar that work as a “skin” to protect the building. Additionally, the removal of the original projecting cornice because of cost constraints resulted in the unintended consequence of accelerating masonry deterioration. Once all the damage had been recorded and mapped, the team recommended full replacement of the masonry along with stabilization and repair of all backup masonry.

All face brick was removed and replaced with new brick that replicated the original brick from the 1890s. Behind this new brick, a vapor barrier was applied and a narrow-cavity drainage plane was installed to create a protective barrier. A replica of the original cornice was installed using modern glass-fiber-reinforced concrete. The team also replaced the roof and cleaned up selected original stonework that remained. The result is the restoration of this beautiful, Beaux-Arts-style school that will be resilient for generations to come.

Retrofit Team

ARCHITECT: Nelligan White Architects PLLC, New York

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Gilsanz Murray Steficek, New York

MEP ENGINEER: Clifford Dias Consulting Engineers, New York

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Adams European Construction Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.



WINDOWS AND ACCESSORIES: Graham Architectural Products


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