Times Covers 100 Clark St. Restoration

Yesterday’s New York Times piece is a fascinating read on the painstaking architectural endeavor behind the reconstruction of 100 Clark St., and the owner’s commitment to restore, as closely as possible, the building to its original glory.

Margaret Streicker Porres, the owner of the realty company that bought the building in 2010 for $1.2M, hired Tom van den Bout, an architect and Brooklyn Heights resident, for the reconstruction. Incidentally, on that infamous day in 2008 when the top two floors of the building were demolished by the City, a “distraught local resident” called Mr. van den Bout. When he arrived, the workers were halfway done and one wall was missing. “It was surreal; it was like looking at the side of a dollhouse,” Mr. van den Bout told the Times. “There were people’s dining room tables all set up with books on them. It was very, very strange.”

Mr. van den Bout and his team are using the only two existing photographs, one dug up from the archives at the New York Public Library, that are clear enough to see all of the magnificent details of the original building. The architects even “counted bricks to calculate proportions and studied the set of the stoop, which went missing long ago, to match the original.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Streicker Porres told the Times, “’Frankly, it never crossed my mind to try and put a modern glass structure there. It seems so obvious that the appropriate reintervention was to attempt a 21st-century re-creation. It’s melding three centuries, through use of a historic skin and a modern exterior.”

The Times reports that there is also a financial benefit to restoring the building to mirror the original. The plan is to build out several apartments, including a triplex, and by using the existing footprint, a larger structure can be built than is allowed by zoning rules.

It’s safe to say that the entire neighborhood is looking forward to this job being completed, and that Mr. van den Bout and Ms. Streicker Porres may be strong contenders for the BHB Ten for 2016.

(Lead photo: Google Maps street view image)

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  • Andrew Porter

    They’re not actually restoring it to its “original glory,” because that would mean eliminating much of the portion on Clark Street, where there was a large back garden behind a wall.

    Also, saying, “it never crossed my mind to try and put a modern glass structure there,” really means that Landmarks would never ever even consider that in the context of the Heights.

    Here’s an ancient photo showing the original structure in the background: