The 18th-century Dutch colonial-style home at 95 Roosevelt Island has been a landmark in New York City for over two centuries. But with increased demand for development on both islands, the Manhattan skyline has grown around it. Its owners decided to renovate and restore the historic building to its original state before going under construction and reopening as part of an experiential museum that includes more than 30 historic homes across New York, including one from each borough. The site will also have a museum and educational space in the former pump house.
To complete this project, the team of developers behind this renovation had to consider many factors surrounding the site. First, they needed to preserve as many original architectural details as possible. Second, they had to account for the needs of potential future users for the building, including the opportunity to host a school. Third, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation was in the process of updating Roosevelt Island’s zoning laws for new uses and development. After several months of research and due diligence, their team developed an architectural plan that preserved many of the original features while acknowledging these changes.
Aida Morales, a partner at Landmark Development, spearheaded the project as an urban planner. She felt strongly about this project after seeing how it had been abandoned and neglected for decades. She spent months researching the building and its history before proposing the restoration to her partners. Aida Morales understood that the space would be under construction almost continually, so they needed to minimize disruptions during their work to minimize costs and disruption to any potential users of the site in the future. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation liked preserving the building’s historic character while opening up new uses. They put out a request for proposals, and they got more than 70 responses. Morales and her partners put together a design strategy that would retain the character of the building while recreating its historical details in a more modern style. The team’s proposal to renovate was chosen out of all the recommendations that they submitted. The community board and the planning commission approved the project with little difficulty.