AIA New York State’s Summer Quarterly publication highlights the recent historic rehabilitation projects that have strengthened communities. From Buffalo to New York City, each featured project experienced funding challenges that required innovation and forwarding thinking from the design team to receive the benefits of Federal and State Historic Tax Credits. “Creativity Saves a Neighborhood Landmark” highlights our restoration of P.S. 186, a deteriorated, but once coveted, neighborhood landmark. The article illustrates how design can impact a community’s history and future.
After 40 years of neglect, the restoration of P.S. 186 came to fruition in the Fall of 2016. The success of the project is attributed to a sensitive design approach, informed by a deep respect for the building’s architectural past and an ever-evolving community, and a committed financial team that engaged SHPO and the NPS Historic Preservation Office. The restoration and transformation of the building’s functionality, from a school to new residences and a central presence for the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem (BGCH), exemplifies a unique opportunity to restore a significant example of 20th Century architecture. By providing affordable housing and a vital community clubhouse, the building is once again the pride of the neighborhood.
Of importance to this publication is the impact of state and federal funding programs on projects like these. While the state of New York is leading the country in the rehabilitation of historic properties, some states are eliminating their Historic Tax Credit programs, placing the program as a whole in jeopardy. As our 2017 AIANYS President, Robert E. Stark states, “Our historic buildings have stories to tell, and it is up to all of us to deliver the message on their behalf.” As advocates of these programs, we understand first-hand their importance in preserving our country’s history for future generations.