The building at 285 Lafayette Street comprises the original 5-story warehouse built in 1886 and a 5-story addition built on top in 2002 when the building was converted to condominiums. Soon after completion, the 5-story addition was plagued by water infiltration through exterior walls and roofing. Investigations revealed that critical waterproofing components had been poorly constructed, improperly installed, and in some cases omitted. The addition required a structural steel analysis and re-design, and subsequent retrofitting with the installation of additional steel components, and removal of the brick-faced cavity wall of the exterior envelop. The widespread performance failures of the architecturally uninspired addition led to a revised plan for the whole.
The brick veneer was replaced with a lightweight zinc-panel wall system to reduce overall loads on the structure and to create an aesthetic that respected the historic building by distinguishing old from new. The zinc skin protects a high-performance insulated wall system. Projecting window surrounds, which were employed to add definition to the façade by organizing and articulating the window openings, also served to mediate inconsistent wall dimensions.
The stonework and brick masonry, and original storefronts of the lower historic building, were completely restored. The restoration work also included installation of a new monumental copper cornice that was replicated based upon photographic documentation of the original cornice that had been removed decades ago. The building now retains its historic sensibility and is complimented by a sophisticated contemporary addition.