Herzog & de Meuron to Revitalize Armory's Veterans Room Originally Designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany As Part of Ongoing Work on its Historic Building
Project Will Reanimate Room’s Design and Support its Transformation into Cultural Salon for Intimate Artistic Encounters
As part of the ongoing transformation of its historic building into an unconventional cultural institution, Park Avenue Armory is beginning revitalization work on its Veterans Room, one of the few surviving interiors by Louis C. Tiffany and Co., Associated Artists, in the world. A monument of late 19th-century decorative arts, the Veterans Room will be reanimated through Herzog & de Meuron’s intervention, which will transform the space into a state-of-the-art room for intimate cultural encounters, including performances, recitals, lectures, and a range of other small-scale events. The project is expected to be complete in December 2015.
Following Herzog & de Meuron’s recent renovation and restoration of the Armory’s Board of Officers Room and two period rooms on its second floor, the revitalization of the Veterans Room will amplify the grandeur of the initial vision for the space and sustain the forward-thinking approach that the original artists put forth in 1880. The objective of the design team is to unite the historic with the contemporary while subtly interweaving additional technical amenities that ensure the room’s active use as a leading-edge cultural salon into the next century. In addition to advancements such as temperature regulation, work on the room will focus on the wallpaper, originally designed by Tiffany and Wheeler and removed in the mid-20th century, which will be reinterpreted in a conceptualized reconstruction; and the lighting, which will be upgraded in order to illuminate the space in its holistic quality, recreating and augmenting the radiance that was originally intended for the room.
“The Veterans Room is among the most significant surviving interiors of the American Aesthetic Movement—an opulent room resulting from the collaborative work of artists and artisans led by a young, visionary Louis Comfort Tiffany and including Stanford White, Samuel Colman, and Candace Wheeler. Our revitalization of this room brings into dialogue two of the most talented designers of the 19th and 21st centuries, Associated Artists and Herzog & de Meuron,” said Armory President and Executive Producer Rebecca Robertson. “Herzog & de Meuron’s design responds to the room’s cutting-edge founding vision, which has been diminished through the passage of time. We look forward to reopening the emboldened space to artists, educators, and our public in December, when the Veterans Room will join the Board of Officers Room as one of New York’s premier cultural salons.”
“What makes the Veterans Room different from all other period rooms of the Armory is its level of inventiveness and playfulness,” said Herzog & de Meuron Senior Partner Ascan Mergenthaler. “It is a collage of diverse influences and inspirations, reflecting the collaborative efforts of an outstanding team of designers. Their approach on the decorative scheme goes beyond what was typical at that time and explores methods and means that are still fascinating today.”
The project is part of a larger, ongoing $200-million renovation and restoration of the Armory’s five-story landmark building. Since being awarded stewardship of the building in December 2006, Park Avenue Armory has invested $120 million to restore the structure—which had been among the “100 Most Endangered Historic Sites in the World” by the World Monuments Fund in 2000—stabilizing the masonry, upgrading the infrastructure, and making the drill hall and select period rooms ready for arts productions, all designed and overseen by Herzog & de Meuron, with Platt Byard Dovell White as Architect of Record. At the same time, Park Avenue Armory developed its artistic program and established itself as a groundbreaking arts institution presenting innovative, cross-disciplinary visual and performing arts that cannot be realized within traditional performance halls and white-wall gallery spaces.