Park Avenue Armory has completed the revitalization of its historic board of officers room, one of the few remaining designs by the Herter Brothers and one of the most important interiors in the country. The transformation turned it into a state-of-the-art salon for intimate performances and art installations. its completion is a major milestone in the Armory’s ongoing $200-million dollar renovation project led by Herzog & de Meuron. The updated board room is a seamless marriage of old and new, which reestablishes the grandeur of the original gilded age design and infuses it with a subtle contemporary sensibility.
Have always loved the arts programming at The Armory and have probably seen some of the most innovative, challenging and beautiful work here – from Die Soldaten (amazing contemporary opera) to Ann Hamilton’s the event of a thread and many more (see pics below the break). This past Thursday, however, I was blown away by the excellent conservation tour led by Kirsten Reoch, Director of Design and Construction. So much great learning on the background and military history of the armory as well as the societal constructs and culture of NYC at the time. The details of the restoration process are absolutely fascinating and it was so cool to see the restorers in action working on a ceiling during our visit (no photos allowed – and you all know how NOT fond I am of the no-photo rule). Herzog & De Meuron is leading the renovation.
The tour starts on the first floor in the Board of Officers Room and then moves on to two rooms on the second floor that have already been restored and renovated. The 75-minute walking tour also explores the soaring 55,000 square foot drill hall and visits some of the second floor areas not normally on view to the public where you can explore the extraordinary interiors by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, Candace Wheeler and the Herter Brothers.
Entry hall at the Armory
One of the rooms with fully restored ceiling
Library designed by the 27 year old Stanford White
One of the Company locker rooms – including a moose mount
PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS
2008: Die Soldaten, a major operatic production, courtesy of the Lincoln Center Festival. “Die Soldaten” is by the German composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann.
2014: “Macbeth” directed by Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford
2012: Ann Hamilton’s art installation “the event of a thread,” at the Park Avenue Armory, features an immense curtain that dances when visitors swing
2013: Transgressive artist Paul McCarthy has taken over the sprawling Park Avenue Armory for his largest work to date. A collaboration with his son Damon McCarthy, the show, called WS, “weaves together a fantastical forest and a three-quarter-scale house modeled after McCarthy’s own childhood home, with multi-channel video projections to immerse visitors in a world of fantasy and depravity.”
2013: ‘Life and Death of Marina Abramovic’