Outstanding Brooklyn restoration projects honored at Landmarks Conservancy’s Moses Awards

The New York Landmarks Conservancy this week announced the winners of the 24th Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards—called the “Preservation Oscars,” as they are the highest honors awarded for excellence in preservation—and four Brooklyn locations are among them: the Duffy Residence, Engelhardt Addition of the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, Green-Wood Cemetery Gatehouse and Williamsburgh Savings Bank.

The coveted awards are named for Lucy G. Moses, a dedicated New Yorker whose generosity benefited the City for more than 50 years. The Awards have recognized over 245 individuals, organizations and building owners for their extraordinary contributions to the city.

“The Moses Awards demonstrate that good preservation benefits the entire city by protecting and enhancing homes, cultural and religious institutions, commercial buildings and neighborhoods for generations to come,” said Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Savings Bank photo by Durston Saylor

The award for the Duffy Residence, located in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, honors the outstanding restoration of one in a row of six Italianate row houses, constructed between 1861 and 1879. This prominent corner property originally was adorned with details typical of the neighborhood and the era. Decades after those details were shrouded or removed, the house has undergone a remarkable renaissance.

In 2011, Lubrano Ciavarra Architects was engaged by the owners to restore the house to its original appearance. Historic photographs showed a prominent wood cornice that wrapped both the facades; a tall brownstone stoop with cast iron handrails and newel posts; a deeply articulated brownstone front façade; a two-story bay window made of painted wood and gardens along both streets bounded by low painted wrought iron. The first step was a custom-designed pinning system to stabilize the façade. Then the project meticulously recreated brownstone elements, the bay window, twin brick chimneys, and wood cornice and painted metal detailing.

Savings Bank photo by Durston Saylor

The award for the Engelhardt Addition of the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company in Greenpoint honors a remarkable example of adaptive use. The unified free-standing facades of three century-old buildings that once manufactured pencils have been transformed into the new home of a 21st century internet-based industry. The Eberhard Faber Pencil Company was founded by Eberhard Faber in 1861. He moved the factory to Brooklyn in 1872, where it remained until 1956. The Engelhardt Addition was completed in stages as the company expanded in the late 19th century.

In 2011, the property was purchased for the development of new office space. The owner and development team were fascinated by the ruinous look of the present-day building, yet concerned about the issues of water-tightness and stability. Scott Henson Architect was commissioned to design and oversee work that would transform these remnants of Brooklyn’s industrial past into the envelope for a contemporary office space that is part of Brooklyn’s extraordinary renaissance.

The Engelhardt Addition of the Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory Company in Greenpoint. Photo courtesy of Hensnon Architect