At the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s 20th Presentation of the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards to be held on April 21, Brooklyn Heights’s Tom van den Bout and his wife Brenda Nelson will be honored for their architecture firm NV/da’s work on 36 Grace Court in the Heights.
Of the projects to be recognized this year at the American Museum of Natural History, which include the Museum itself, the Empire State Building lobby, and The High Line, 36 Grace Court is the only private residence.
“It’s a little intimidating,” van den Bout said, laughing. NV/da will accept the award along with the home’s owners, the contractor, and all of the sub-contractors involved in the restoration, which took place from November 2008 until July of last year.
Van den Bout, who is also the current president of the Brooklyn Heights Association, said the most difficult part of the restoration, which included both interior and exterior work, was getting approval from New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to remove concrete panels on the upper stories of the exterior.
“We hoped there might be brick underneath,” van den Bout recalled. “It turned out the concrete was bonded to the brick, and they had totally destroyed the brick behind it to get the concrete to adhere.”
It’s NV/da’s first and only “Lucy” Award, the Landmarks Conservancy’s highest honors for preservation efforts. Come May, anybody who wants to can marvel at the award-winning work both inside and out: 36 Grace Court will be one of the houses on display during this year’s Brooklyn Heights Spring House Tour.
(Editor’s Note: Owners Trena Keating and David Pitofsky were honored earlier this year by the BHA for the restoration of 36 Grace Court.)