Museum of Immigration

Ellis Island, NY/NJ Harbor

Project Details

40,000 sf

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners

National Park Service

The adaptive reuse of the main building at Ellis Island for use as a museum was one of the largest historic preservation projects ever undertaken in the US.

Structural features included a new steel entry canopy which replicates original shape, new registry room helical stair in reinforced concrete, installation of skylights over light wells to enclose them for escalator installation, removal of major building columns, sounding of more than 19,000 tiles of Guastavino ceiling in registry room, and reconstruction of the power plant building.

Throughout the building, numerous structural alterations were required to support a totally new mechanical installation. Miscellaneous slab and wall openings were created, respecting original historic fabric wherever possible. In addition, the stairwells were refurbished and the elevators were replaced. Years of neglect had permitted water to penetrate into many of the spaces, causing corrosion of steel and spalling of concrete and masonry. Many steel members were replaced in kind or reinforced. New slabs and beams were installed to accommodate the revised use of the spaces. All spaces were made accessible to the disabled with ramps and elevators. Significant façade repairs were required at all of these buildings.

1991 NYACE Engineering Excellence Award – Honorable Mention

Categories: Museums, Adaptive ReuseRenovation