NYU Town Houses
New York, NY New York University
New York University is not a traditional campus, but rather part of an institutional zone (and also historic district) where it owns some wonderful townhouses. Helpern Architects helped convert three of these Greenwich Village residences into unique institutes, as part of NYU’s “Nodes of Strength” program established to bring exceptional small programs to national prominence.
The strategy gave each entity dedicated, identifiable facilities. The effort to convince the local community of the excellence of our architectural transform-
ation of each house, as well as of NYU’s commitment to their care, was as complex as the work entailed to create elegant centers for study and gatherings.
All three house renovations were described and extensively illustrated in one remarkable article in Architectural Record magazine.
[Images 1-3] NYU Purchased a vacant, gutted landmark house on West 12th Street for its Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, the Center for Italian Studies. Coincidentally originally built in Italianate style, Helpern reconceived the house into a Tuscan villa. A popular new 100-seat concert hall occupies space excavated under the house’s rear garden.
[Images 4-6] Arguably the most unique house on East 10th Street once belonged to artist and furniture designer Lockwood de Forest. The teak façade and interior millwork displayed the East Indian exotic materials and craftsmanship that made him a successful businessman. The house had been broken into small apartments, but Helpern restored and repurposed it into the Edgar Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. The renovation was the cover story of Contract Design.
[Images 7-8] NYU joined the two houses on this West 10th Street property to make, first, the Onassis Center and later the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House. Helpern Architects was able to preserve many features from the mid-1830s.