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Multimedia Entertainment Company

CompanyFXFOWLE Architects
Lead Designers
ClientGuy Geier
Prize(s)Gold in Architecture Categories / Renovation
Entry Description

Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, one block from
Central Park, the First Battery Armory was constructed in
1901 for the New York City Armory Board. In 1913, the First
Battery relocated, and between 1913 and 1976, the building
was renovated multiple times for various tenants.

In 2012, we converted the three-story stone and brick
building—a linear head house along the street with a drill
hall behind—into the corporate offices for a multimedia
entertainment company. The armory is listed on the
National Register of Historic Places, and our design restores
the shell as rigorously as possible. Historic portions of the
building have been restored with original components (brick
and trusses), fabricated to match what exists (light
fixtures), or updated to meet code requirements in a way
that references the past (roof structure). All historic steel—
ceiling trusses, handrails, building details—is painted gray,
fostering a unified industrial look and establishing an
internal dialogue. Materials for the modern insertions
create a clear contrast.

The interior of the head house accommodates private
offices. Two new mezzanines in the drill hall provide
efficient work and meeting areas. At the juncture between
the head house and the drill hall we inserted a light slot.
Skylights cast natural light into this circulation zone of stairs
and elevators.

The new stair in the light slot serves as a social space;
stretching diagonally, it conducts light through the building,
all the way to the basement. At each end of the light slot is
a conference room that overlooks the office interior. Glass
partitions increase visual transparency and allow light to
filter through to offices, workstations, and conference
rooms. Mezzanine floors are flat-slab construction; their
smooth, polished finish contrasts with the rough texture of
the old brick walls. In the basement offices, indirect
illumination reveals the historic flat-arch ceiling.