Manhattan Surrogate’s Court
Designed by R. Thomas, then one of the most sought-after architects of public spaces, and completed in 1907, the seven-story Beaux-Arts structure encompasses an entire block in downtown Manhattan, bounded by Chambers, Centre, Reade and Elk Streets. The building at 31 Chambers Street holds the city’s municipal archives and features ornate courtrooms for New York County’s Surrogate’s Court on the fifth floor. The interior and exterior are both New York City Landmarks. The building was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
We were hired to recreate the lunettes and replicate a full metallic finish the ornamental bronze cladding encasing steel structure of the skylight. The historic bronze ceiling was dramatically oxidized due to age and water infiltration and that the metal finish needed to be restored by cleaning the metal and then receive new chemical patina finish to return it to its original intended appearance. After a finish analysis was performed, we able to determine that the original was an unusual chemically patinaed metal finish which we were able to restore by removing the post historic overpaint. To our team’s surprise, we discovered something hidden, that no one was expecting — a highly unusual chemical-applied gilding underneath.
Our Founder, Jeff Greene, was thrilled for the finding and noted this is the only time in his 40+ year career where he has ever come across this type of unusual metallic architectural finish! The scope of the restoration project completely changed to salvage this original finish and allowed the team to conserve back to its original state.
EverGreene’s work also included paint and repair to the plaster to match the marble panels, cleaning of all surfaces and reinstating the original book matched faux marble work at the two end walls.