SUNY–State College of Optometry | Manhattan | 1912
Steel-frame structure clad in limestone, copper and brick with terra cotta ornamentation
The SUNY State College of Optometry, originally Aeolian Hall, is located at 33 West 42ndStreet overlooking Bryant Park. Designed by renowned architects Warren and Wetmore, Aeolian Hall was originally constructed for the Aeolian Piano Company. The classically-inspired building is an example of Beaux-Arts architecture stretched into a skyscraper, with a band of Corinthian columns thirteen floors up and urns gracing the roof line. A cultural landmark, the building may be best known for hosting George Gershwin’s premier performance of Rhapsody in Blue. The building’s original ground floor configuration was redesigned in 1970 to incorporate a through-block arcade, which was later filled in.
Kamen Tall Architects (formerly BSA+D) was hired as a historic consultant and asked to complete a full conditions assessment of the building. The final report included a thorough cultural and architectural history, in-depth architectural and materials research, and an exhaustive conditions assessment of the exterior facades, including elevation drawings and repair strategies and recommendations. This in-depth report was used by the College for fundraising efforts and served as the base for the façade restoration which was completed by the architect/engineer of record.