2018 Preservation Awards
Saving New Haven
When buildings are torn down, history is lost — this year's awards celebrate when (and how) history is saved. From the Hague house on Foster Street where the 1940s equivalent of vinyl once killed the extraordinary work of a 1886 joiner, or the salvation of the lone original piece of the 1868 Trinity Home in the embrace of a brand new housing development, or the promise of reviving John Johansen’s extraordinary Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, when we save buildings we live history. And Karyn Gilvarg has lived history in perhaps the most personally effective way imaginable as one of New Haven’s most thoughtful parts of city government, saving untold numbers of history’s gifts to live into our cultural future. Awards recognize what has been done, but also can underscore our values, now and in the future: the 2018 Historic Preservation Awards do both.
2018 NHPT House Preservation Award
23 Foster Street
Builder: Benjamin Hague
Owner: Robert W. Grzywacz
In 1886, Benjamin Hague created a home on Foster Street in New Haven. 41 years ago a Yale graduate student in architecture, Robert Grzywacz, saw that now sadly unloved home and managed to purchase it, no doubt due to the fact it was greatly devalued by its red asphalt roof shingles and cast asbestos-laden dull gray wall siding. Although inexperienced as an architect, Grzywacz saw that the home's guts were not only sound, but beautiful. Over the next ten years, there was just enough money to remove the cast siding, repair rot and prime paint the exterior, staunching further degradation. When the roof turned 60 years old a few years ago the leaks became disastrous, and now architect Grzywacz removed all three layers of asphalt shingles and the original wood shingles under them and fully reinstated new wood shingles. Two years ago, he launched into the painstaking recreation of the home’s pristine Stick-Style-from-Queen-Anne exterior in a mix of colors that took six months to implement. 40 years of thoughtful devotion has seen an extraordinary realization: beauty can be restored.
2018 NHPT Merit Plaque
Trinity Church Home Chapel
301 George Street
Architect: Henry Austin
Renovation Architect: Greg Wies & Gardner Architects, LLC
Renovation Date: 2018
Developer: Metro 303, LLC, Milford, Connecticut
The developer of this site, which spans George to Crown Streets close to High Street, is Robert Smith, Jr., of Metro Star Properties, LLC. His architect, Sam Gardner of Gregg Wies & Gardner Architects, LLC, has chosen to feature this preserved bit of Henry Austin by giving the Trinity Chapel a central visible presence from George Street, enhanced by a pocket park and passenger drop-off set on the ground plane in front of it. Original limestone fence posts and wrought-iron railings dated ca. 1875 have also been reinstated. The cleaned and partially restored exterior of the original chapel lets it now stand out as a jewel, flanked by the more subdued colorations of the adjacent buildings, the one to the left belonging to this Metro Star project which brings many welcome newly-constructed apartments to downtown New Haven. Metro Star has mounted an interpretive plaque for both residents and the public to enjoy. History, through memory, survives.
2018 NHPT Landmark Plaque
Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ
217 Dixwell Avenue
Architect: John M. Johansen
The Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ is believed to be the oldest African American Congregational UCC church in the world, founded in 1820, according to the church’s website. It is to the great credit of the church that they have carried on their mission for nearly 200 years, and that they have valued and been good stewards of this unique architectural heritage for now 50 years. This faceted, dynamic shape was designed as a place of worship, but also as a focal point for the avenue and the large adjacent Daniel Stewart Plaza, by the prominent modernist architect, John Johansen, in 1967-1969.
Margaret Flint Award
Karyn M. Gilvarg
Karyn M. Gilvarg served as Executive Director of the New Haven City Plan Department for more than 23 years, with integrity, fairness, and encyclopedic knowledge of the city. She was responsible for framing the city’s comprehensive plan and for providing staff support to the City Plan Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and the Historic District Commission. She advised two mayors and dozens of city and regional colleagues on details of federal, state, and local projects that changed the face of New Haven. In that span of time, Gilvarg reviewed and made recommendations on approximately 1,500 applications for construction, development, and land-use changes. It is safe to say that since 1994, no one has worked harder or been more successful in maintaining the quality of the built environment of New Haven.
2017 Preservation Awards
At Home with History: Living in New Haven
There is no more essential purpose for a building than as a place to live. New Haven has a remarkable housing stock of every type and style. Throughout history private residences are often a source of great pride no matter how modest. Shared accommodations has allowed people of modest means, shared infirmity, or student status housing, and has been part of New Haven for over 200 years. Given the new focus on building places to live in New Haven, New Haven Preservation Trust celebrates the history of urban living in this year’s Preservation Awards. Homes both grand and small, preservation of Yale’s lone mid-century Modernist residential college, and a local hero of both neighborhood and single family residential preservation are honored in this year’s program.
2017 NHPT House Preservation Award
Laura Sargent House
Architect: Henry Killam Murphy, Dana and Murphy Architects
Owner: Betsy and Len Grauer
Renovation Architect: George Knight
Renovation Date: 2006
Built in 1912 for the offspring of a great New Haven family, Laura Sargent of Sargent Hardware, and by a leading society architect, Henry Murphy of Dana and Murphy Architects, this casually majestic home has been fully restored and updated by its current owners, Betsy and Len Grauer. Rather than reinvent and change, many of the home’s 2006 restoration returned features and finishes to their original condition. Under the tender ministrations by architect George Knight, very careful updating made the kitchen, downstairs bath, and existing possessions of the owners fully accommodated along with all of the technological updates needed for effortless utility in the 21st century.
Photo: Robert Lisak
2017 NHPT Merit Plaque
84 Second Street
Builder and Mason: Andrew J. Ramsdell
Owner: Lisa Hoffer and Christopher Schaffer
Among the oldest and relatively unaltered houses in City Point, this small, well-designed structure was typical for the working class members of this neighborhood, built for a shell-fishing family in the post Civil War era. The current owner’s dedication to research, valuing renovation discoveries, and caring for the historic integrity of this special place is evident in every restored detail. The story can even be told of each small home improvement such as running water, gas, and electricity, typical of so many early city houses. Today, in the face of expedient renovations nearby, to see these authentic materials and the age-appropriate appearance of this well-cared-for gem, is to virtually step into the past.
2017 NHPT Landmark Plaque
Morse and Stiles Colleges
302 York Street
Architect: Eero Saarinen
Owner: Yale University
Renovation Architect: Stephen Kieran, KieranTimberlake
Renovation Date: 2011
The underlying literal and figurative strength of form of Eero Saarinen’s original design for Morse and Stiles Residential Colleges at Yale is clearly apparent in the renovation work completed there by KieranTimberlake. Saarinen designs with repeated modules reflecting functionality, all to be read as architectural elements playing with one another in vertical undulation of skyline silhouette across the rise and fall of the site’s ground plane. Stephen Kieran, in his restorative renovation of Morse and Stiles, deftly and sensitively underscores Saarinen’s intents. Functionalities and undulations are supplemented, giving contemporary relevance to Saarinen’s sense of poetic wonder in architectural form.
2017 Margaret Flint Award
Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven
333 Sherman Avenue
Executive Director: James A. Paley, Ph.D.
Since its founding in 1979, and under the continuous and capable leadership of James Paley, Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (NHS) has worked diligently to acquire blighted houses and transform them into affordable and energy-efficient homes. In 37 years, NHS renovated and sold more than 275 houses, many of which are located in New Haven’s partially abandoned historic neighborhoods. The New Haven Preservation Trust is pleased to present its most prestigious prize, the Margaret Flint Award, to Neighborhood Housing Services in recognition of their long-standing commitment to historic preservation.
2016 Preservation Awards
Adapt or Die: Changing Use and Applying Technology to Preserve New Haven’s Architectural Legacy
Darwin had it right: without adaptation living things do not survive. To keep New Haven’s architectural legacies alive and to contribute to the city’s cultural environment, buildings need to accept adaptation. They can become museums to the past, change to be useful in the present, or they can be gone forever. These awards celebrate the middle ground of adaptation, enabling them to live on in our midst.
Irrelevancy threatened three iconic structures in New Haven. Unless these significant pieces of architecture were thoughtfully adapted, their viability and value would be compromised. When a building loses value, it often becomes a liability: and liabilities are often removed.
It’s a simple reality: adapt or die. Thoughtless adaptation ruins the reason to save our legacy buildings; these three buildings have been thoughtfully updated without being desecrated, and The New Haven Preservation Trust salutes their owners.
2016 NHPT House Preservation Award
Nelson Hotchkiss House
621 Chapel Street
Architect: Attributed to Henry Austin
Owner: Andrew Ehrgood and Jane Lee
Exterior Renovation Date: c.2013
Federal. Georgian. Gothic. Italianate. Indeed one of the most endearing aspects of New Haven residential life is the pockets of charming historical neighborhoods spread within its boundaries. Even as the city grows and technology continues to advance, these neighborhoods have managed to retain both their architecturally-unique and individual characteristics, thereby enchanting generations of inhabitants with their historical relevance. Nowhere is this spirit of preservation captured or continued with more success than in the area of Wooster Square, and the home of Jane Lee and Andrew Ehrgood. For not only does their home tell the story of Wooster Square’s formative years, but also captures a pivotal era of vibrant urban renewal and modernism in the city’s 20th century history. Today, the Nelson Hotchkiss House remains a testament to many periods of New Haven’s history. Following a sensitive adaptation, the residence has maintained its relevancy to its community — both those in the present as well as those in the past.
2016 NHPT Merit Plaque
Winchester Lofts (Formerly part of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company)
275 Winchester Avenue
Architect: Leoni W. Robinson
Project Developer: Forest City Residential Group; Abe Naparstek, Senior Vice President
Project Architect: DiMella Shaffer
Renovation Date: 2015
New Haven continues the phoenix-like transformation of its industrial architectural heritage with the adaptive conversion of a key building of the former Winchester Repeating Arms Factory complex into 158 unique apartments. Vacant for many years, the now-renovated brick building is a compelling fit for contemporary living in a 125 year-old structure. The block long, three- and four-story structures are a classic form of factory architecture: tall windows creating naturally-lit work spaces; high ceilings for shaft and belt-driven lathes and other machinery; wood, concrete and steel framing; and wood floors. The New Haven Preservation Trust was instrumental in nominating the Winchester Repeating Arms Company industrial complex to the National Register of Historic Places.
2016 NHPT Landmark Plaque
Knights of Columbus Building
One Columbus Plaza
Architect: Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates LLC
Owner: Knights of Columbus
Façade Replacement Architect: Leo A. Daly
Façade Replacement: 2014
The Knights of Columbus building is a rare being: an icon in modern architecture. Conceived without the luxury of a historical precedent, this 23-story statement structure became preeminent the moment it was finished in 1969. It is both gateway to the city of New Haven and focal point: both architecture and sculpture, serving civic and corporate functions, it is definitively iconic. The tower is a diagram of architectural distillation: concrete piers support distinctly offset steel floor plates, between which glass walls span. It is with these glass walls that the architectural firm of Leo A. Daly reintroduced the concepts of building architect Roche Dinkeloo, with both a reverence and fealty to design that is exceptional. The costs of the custom-crafted and complete reengineering are significant, and are really only necessary if you truly value the aesthetics of a building. The Knights of Columbus Supreme Council deserves full commendation for their recognition of the civic and aesthetic significance of their headquarters; a gift they gave to the New Haven cityscape almost 50 years ago. If you value something, it is essential that you put your money where your values are. The Knights of Columbus have done just that through the sensitive restoration of their iconic headquarters: reinforcing not only their tradition of service, but also supporting the city of New Haven, and a citizen’s commitment to protecting a legacy of Modernism.
2015 Preservation Awards
Restoration as a Window to History: Celebrating the Provenance of Buildings by Their Restoration
Buildings manifest a time and place. Three projects in New Haven are being renovated with a level of care and intelligence that rises to the level of restoration. Beyond style and appearance, history is found in the way historic structures were conceived and crafted. Restorations of the materials, techniques and methods used to build make history present again in the here and now.
A home, a parish hall, and a private library do not have a common purpose, but in restoration they have a common message: history is well served when it is taken seriously in the renewal of our threatened buildings. Rather than simulate the techniques and effects of 19th century construction technology, these heroic and ongoing efforts often retain their original craft and materials originally implemented in their building.
Taking advantage of technology where it is invisible, the net effect is the salvation of not only the building, but its era's means and methods of construction. When these buildings were renovated, it took the extreme commitment of their owners to recapture their original craftsmanship and detailing rather than “paper over” history. The New Haven Preservation Trust is privileged to recognize the restoration of three unique parts of our city's heritage.
2015 NHPT House Preservation Award
Moritz Spier House
678 Orange Street
Architect: Brown & Von Beren
Owner: Gina and Robert Naracci
Restoration Architect: Gina and Robert Naracci
Restoration Date: 2014
New Haven is filled with intact but unrestored vintage homes of enchanting provenance. The Moritz Spier House is one of three houses built next to each other in the mid 1890s designed by architects Brown & Von Beren. This house was purchased in 2005 by Rob and Gina Narracci, two architects who work in the office of Cesar Pelli. Ten years after purchase a meticulous restoration has completely revived the home's exquisite Georgian Revival exterior -- executed as the interior has had many projects reach completion, with many more to come. Personal dedication by devoted homeowners with professional and hands-on expertise has made new what was once threatened by time and neglect.
2015 NHPT Merit Plaque
Center Church Parish House
311 Temple Street
Architect (Ezekiel Trowbridge House): Sidney Mason Stone
Architect (Rear Addition): Leoni W. Robinson
Owner: First Church of Christ in New Haven, U.C.C.
Restoration Architect: Gregg Wies & Gardner Architects, LLC
Restoration Date: 2014 (exterior ongoing)
Center Church on the Green's Parish Hall, a once-faded treasure, has had its exterior lovingly and gloriously restored to splendor. What began as a daunting, yet vital project to replace their parish hall roof evolved into the revitalization of an irreplaceable New Haven landmark by a devoted congregation. For a little over 100 years, Center Church on the Green has continued to staff their offices in the original Trowbridge residence and host the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen in the basement of the parish hall. Yet while the practice has continued from the first day of dedication, the state of the parish hall had slowly been in decline. As with many other 19th century structures, windows no longer held a sufficient amount of heat, historical elements were replaced for newer versions, and general upgrades were needed. In fact, it was the replacement of the roof that acted as a catalyst for the structure’s sensitive overhaul.
2015 NHPT Landmark Plaque
The Institute Library
847 Chapel Street
Architect: Rufus G. Russell
Owner: The Young Men’s Institute Library
Restoration Architect: Joe Banks AIA
New Haven’s Institute Library is a hidden architectural and cultural gem, unusually well-preserved for a building in downtown New Haven in that it is not affiliated with any university, municipal, or ecclesiastical institution. Designed by Rufus G. Russell, a student of Henry Austin, this beautiful Victorian building has been continuously occupied by the library since being built in 1878, and has kept its character through the many economic and cultural changes of the last 140 years. The library’s executive directors, Will Baker and Natalie Elicker, recognizing the importance of the space, have engaged the members in a unique program of conservation, keeping the feel, function, and detail of the space, while updating the infrastructure of the building to meet the needs of a 21st century library.
2014 Preservation Awards
New Haven Preservation Trust recognizes three projects that focus on the individual and civic risk-taking that preserves and enhances life in New Haven, and that are emblematic of larger effort to save historic resources — many, following decades of commitment.
2014 NHPT House Preservation Award
Justin Kimberly House
624 Quinnipiac Avenue
Owner: Sean Hundtofte and Bridget Suma
Restoration Date: 2011
The Justin Kimberly House as restored by Sean Hundtofte and Bridget Suma, is recognized as an example of private owner involvement and dedication to the preservation of the historic Fair Haven community.
2014 NHPT Merit Plaque
Factories in the Ninth Square
38 Crown Street
Date: 1875 to 1910
Owner: PMC Property Group Inc.
Restoration Date: 2011
38 Crown Street, a 65 apartment adaptive-use development in three historic buildings by the PMC Property Group Inc., is recognized as a role model of corporate courage and belief in the value of historic rehabilitation work in an urban environment.
2014 NHPT Landmark Plaque
Yale Art + Architecture Building
180 York Street
Architect: Paul Rudolph
Owner: Yale University
Restoration Date: 2009
Yale University’s conscious decision to restore and preserve its Modern masterpieces as exemplified by the complete restoration of the Art + Architecture Building is recognized.