Belvedere Castle

I’ve written a bunch of blog posts about this project and it has now reached its logical end-point: our work is done and the Central Park Conservancy has announced the re-opening of the building in ten days. The summary: a folly original to the park, later turned into a weather station, then abandoned, then turned into a visitors’ center, has received its first full restoration as an occupiable building.

(Curbed’s coverage; Gothamist’s coverage.)

This project was an interesting one for us because, in addition to the obvious prestige of working on one of the signature structures in Central Park, the building is unique. The structural system consists of solid and very thick ashlar masonry walls, wrought-iron floor beams, and stone-slab floors. Some of the floor slabs have been replaced by concrete vaults, some have been replaced by modern concrete on steel deck. The originally-empty windows received windows in the 1980s and have now received ones that better fit the architecture.

Our design included stabilizing two small balconies at the second-floor terrace, repairing the iron beams at all levels, stone repair, evaluation of the wood roof of the main tower, repair of the wood roofs of the pavilions, and the structural design to make the alteration of the largest pavilion roof (replacing one of its four legs with a miniature tower) work. The pavilion roof alteration was technically a restoration, putting back a design element that had been missing. Almost none of this resembled normal restoration work, which is what it made it difficult and what made it interesting.

Some old photos and some work photos follow; see the Gothamist link for some glamor photos of the completed work.

Note the open windows at the left.
Hand-painting photos – fakery before photoshop existed.
Again, note the open windows and door. The two small balconies at the first upper terrace are visible.
Small pavilion before the decorative trim is applied to the posts, above a restored stone parapet.
Three pavilion roofs.
Masonry work in progress.
The large pavilion with its new tower.
Inside the new tower at the large pavilion. The gray member left of center is steel (not yet cased on wood), making the design stronger than the original.
Scroll to Top