Lucy Moses Award: T Building

We are proud to have been involved with another project that has won a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award: the conversion of the T Building at the Queens Hospital Center from an obsolete and unneeded facility, built in 1940 as the Triboro Hospital for Tuberculosis, to affordable housing. As always, it’s important to note that the project won the award, not us, and we’d like to congratulate the entire team, especially Dunn Development. The picture above shows it shortly after completion; the construction photo below gives a sense of the setting, near Kew Gardens and Jamaica but not quite in either:

The architectural features that made for a good TB hospital in 1940 – high ceilings, big windows, balconies everywhere – make for good apartments, too. The floors are quite narrow, so there were no deep interior spaces to cause trouble for residential layouts. Here’s the original hospital layout:

Our work had two components: structure and facades. It’s a steel-framed building, with “Schuster” floors, which are concrete waffle slabs with terra cotta blocks left in the waffle coffers as permanent forms. Running new mechanical systems through the floors meant dealing with altering the ribs but also not altering the ribs unless there were no other options. Doing any adaptive work (like removing ribs for new duct) in a building this size quickly adds up to hundreds of instances of the alteration detail. Mona, who ran the project with help from a number of other engineers over the course of four years, had to work harder on not using her details than on using them.

The facade work was more straightforward, involving repair to the brick and stone-veneer walls and giving the building a modern facade inspection…in the middle of all the other work. The thin balcony slabs had weathered the most, and there were some facade peculiarities at the curved ends of the building, but the repairs followed historic preservation standards, as the building was added to the National Register during the work.

All in all, a great project, and, in a rare twist, we were involved with one of the larger buildings to win an award this year.

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