Location: 101 Spring Street, New York, NY
Landmark Status: SoHo Cast Iron Historic District
Original Architect: Nicholas Whyte
Date of Construction: 1870-1871
Date of Restoration: 2010-2012
Scope of Work: Full Building Renovation, Cast Iron Facade Restoration, Wood Window Replacement
Awards: Design Merit Award (AIA New York Chapter), Excellence in Historic Preservation Award (Preservation League of New York State), American Architecture Award (Chicago Athenaeum), Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award (New York Landmarks Conservancy), Masterworks Award (Municipal Arts Society), Best of Construction Award (Engineering News Record – New York)
In 1968, American sculptor Donald Judd purchased 101 Spring Street, a nineteenth-century cast-iron building in SoHo, where he lived and worked until his death in 1994. Between 2010 and 2012, Walter B. Melvin Architects and project team undertook a full building renovation guided by the programmatic goals of the Judd Foundation.
The exterior work fulfills Judd’s plans to restore the beauty of the building’s façade, an effort he began in the 1990’s. The cast-iron façade, which provides both the enclosure and structure for the building, had deteriorated since its construction in 1870. Designed and overseen by WBMA, restoration work included the careful removal, documentation, treatment, and reinstallation of all nonstructural elements. 1,300 cast-iron pieces were thoroughly cleaned, repaired or recast to match to original profiles, primed and painted at a foundry in Alabama. Spandrel panels were reattached using new concealed stainless steel brackets and fasteners. The exterior was repainted to match the medium gray color of the building during the time that Judd occupied it.
The wood windows, which make up a remarkable two-thirds of the facade area, were replaced with new wood windows that match the original profiles and incorporate insulated glass units.
The objective of the interior renovation was to implement required building improvements with minimal visual impact so that the important relationships between the historic building and Judd’s alterations could be maintained. Providing public access to the building required significant upgrades to the existing life safety and fire suppression systems. Wherever possible, interior finishes were preserved.
Open to the public since June 2013, the Donald Judd Home and Studio affords visitors the opportunity to understand the artist’s creative process, as it was the source of inspiration for much of his later work.