The Public Theater has called the former Astor Library its home since 1967. The 1854 Romanesque Revival building, one of the first buildings to be designated a New York City landmark, houses six distinct performance venues that accommodate a wide range of programming, as well as administrative and production offices and rehearsal space.
Silman has provided structural engineering services for two phases of its rehabilitation, the first of which was the extensive restoration of the building’s brownstone facade and ornamental stone work. Roof and parapets were also repaired or replaced during this phase of work. In the next phase, a modern granite stoop and glass canopy were added at the building’s entrance, which created 456 sf of new usable space in the lobby. Two new ADA entrance ramps were also added to improve accessibility.
Inside, the institution’s production and administrative offices were centralized, and two new mezzanines – one a thin structure balcony that overlooks the historic lobby – were added to accommodate a public lounge and restaurant. The historic plasterwork of the lobby was restored and the existing stairs were reconfigured to better direct traffic flow by modifying or removing load-bearing masonry walls. Restrooms were expanded and made ADA accessible, and the project also entailed a complete mechanical and electrical upgrade, including penetrations throughout the unreinforced masonry structure.
2013 SARA/NY, Bronze Honor Award