Curran/O’Toole Building receives award for restoration
January 18, 2016
The team responsible for the Curran/O’Toole Building restoration has received a Bronze Award from Building Design & Construction magazine. The award marks a high point in the building’s long journey from a site threatened by demolition back to a fully operational health center. The building was originally designed by Albert C. Ledner for the National Maritime Union (NMU) and was dedicated in 1964. Ledner designed a total of 14 buildings for the NMU throughout his career, three of which are in New York City (the other two are now hotels: the Maritime Hotel and the Dream Downtown). In the Curran/O’Toole Building, the most prominent feature is the cantilevered floors with scallop-edged cutouts, which create the impression of portholes on a ship when viewed head on.
In 2007, then-owner Saint Vincent Medical Centers announced plans to vacate the building, leaving it to its development partner, Rudin Management, to redevelop the site. This jump-started a preservation effort, which DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State participated in, and the details of which are documented on our advocacy page. The end result was that in 2011 a new owner, North Shore LIJ Health System, came forward with plans to renovate the building for use as a comprehensive health care facility.
The restoration team, led by Perkins Eastman Architects with Robert Silman Associates as the structural engineer and façade expert, had a number of challenges with the site, but were able to carefully preserve the exterior while making the interior a functional space for its current use. In 2014 the site reopened as the Lenox Hill Healthplex, which features the first freestanding emergency department in Manhattan.