The Williamsburgh Savings Bank was a four-year historic preservation project that transformed a derelict though historically significant 140-year-old structure to its impressive and iconic original appearance, while also giving the vacant building space life and a purpose as a community cultural event and exhibition venue. The $27 million project posed several significant challenges, including sympathetically adapting outdated banking spaces for new uses, conserving and restoring an extremely deteriorated building, and updating and/or integrating new systems to meet modern needs while respecting the integrity of the original edifice and its decorative elements. Modern amenities were discreetly integrated to meet contemporary codes and functional needs within spaces that fully retain their late 19th- and early 20th-century décor. Many of their now-rarified technologies survive, including original speaking tubes and a ca. 1911 Otis birdcage elevator – the latter of which is one of only three remaining unmodified birdcage elevators in New York City and continues to transport visitors through the building and back in time.


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