New York Landmarks Conservancy selected the Salvation Army's N.Y.C. headquarters, the Centennial Memorial Temple, as a winner of the 23rd annual Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards, also called the "Preservation Oscars." Kostow Greenwood Architects (KGA) designed a complete restoration and modernization of this building while preserving its historic interior. KGA's work will be recognized at the awards ceremony on April 29th to be held at Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall.
The Salvation Army building, at 120 West 14th St., houses an auditorium behind its Art Deco faÃ§ade, considered a masterpiece of the Deco Ziggurat style. For the first time in its 80-year history, the theater has been restored, repaired and modernized, while the faÃ§ade and exterior entry stair were also renovated.
"The Temple had been virtually untouched since its dedication in 1930," said Michael Kostow, KGA principal-in-charge. "We are honored that the Salvation Army selected us to update the Temple to serve 21st century needs and that the Landmarks Conservancy recognizes our efforts to preserve its significant heritage."
The project centerpiece was the complete restoration and modernization of the historic theater, including repair of all the original travertine walls, ornamental plaster ceilings, proscenium and band shell. The original house lighting was retrofitted with LED lamps to reduce power consumption and facilitate ease of maintenance. KGA replaced the seating, adding new seats and textiles and reducing capacity from 1,600 to 1,375 to allow for wider seats and new ADA compliant viewing positions. In order to improve audience sight lines, seats are staggered and the new seats were designed to evoke the original design while re-using the original cast end standards. Inspired by the ornate decorative plaster ceiling, KGA also designed a custom carpet that brightens the overall space with its subtle pattern and bold color.
Today, the Centennial Memorial Temple theater boasts a fully integrated audio and video production system complete with an on-site control room and editing suite, a new digitally controlled theatrical lighting system with a motorized truss, and a new wireless audio translation system with the capacity to simultaneously transmit in up to six languages. To preserve the important historic interior, all cabling was concealed within the walls and floors through an intricate distribution system that creates a technologically enhanced and flexible performance space.
Kostow noted that "thousands of New Yorkers walk by this building every day, but virtually no one knows what is inside. It was extremely satisfying to restore this grand space that is essentially hiding in plain site. We are thrilled to be receiving the Lucy G. Moses Award."
The Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards, called the "Preservation Oscars," are the Landmarks Conservancy's highest honors for excellence in preservation. The coveted awards are named for Lucy G. Moses, a dedicated New Yorker whose generosity benefitted the City for more than 50 years. The Awards have recognized over 225 individuals, organizations, and building owners for their extraordinary contributions to the City.
Since 1987, Kostow Greenwood Architects has completed hundreds of projects for public and private clients including broadcast facilities, academic buildings, performing arts centers, offices, preservation of historic structures, and custom residential projects.