The Belvedere Castle
Historic Castle Restoration
Central Park Conservancy
Lucy Moses Award
In this turnkey restoration project, the Graciano project management team oversaw the entire scope of work — not just the usual artistic historic restoration, but mechanical, utilities and interior construction efforts as well.
Designed as an architectural folly by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Central Park’s I50-year-old Belvedere Castle had housed US. Weather Bureau personnel and equipment since 1920. The weather station was automated in 1960 deserted and almost forgotten. The structure quickly declined. Although the Central Park Conservancy (CPC) stepped in to rescue the crumbling castle in 1993, difficulties with drainage, weatherproofing and climate control persisted.
Finally, in 2018, CPC asked Graciano Caw ration to restore the landmark from bedrock to nxitons – updating mec6nicals and utilities and adding a state-of-the-art geothermal system, while preserving the castle’s historic charm. On a tight, 16-month schedule, the Graciano team:
- Pointed 15,000 square feet of original schist, granite and bluestone masonry
- Cleaned all 15,000 square feet of masonry using low-pressure Rot= Vortex micro-abrasives
- Installed 2,503 18″x18″ ignescent pavers and 30 lex18′ bluestone terrace slaps
- Matched and inset almost 1,500 bluestone and granite “Dutchman” patches
- Replaced 75 linear feet of granite coping
- Rebuilt 275 square feet of parapet wall
- Replaced every rod slate on the castle and its two pavilions
- Replaced all windows and doors
- Repaired or replaced all interior floors and ceilings
- Upgraded interior and exterior lighting to LED technology
- Modernized drainage and waterproofing systems
- Installed the climate control system, which required drilling a 400-foot geothermal well through solid rock
According to Dan McIntyre, Graciano’s New York Executive VP, “Every task was demanding. Following historic guidelines, we removed the old mortar, then painted it back in quarter-inch lifts. Some of the stone is no longer available, so we harvested matching repair material unite. We also built a modem technical space in the basement specifically designed for the weather station’s equipment? “This was the most challenging project I’ve ever experienced, but the most successful and personally rewarding,” says Graciano president Glenn Foglia. “Working with CPCia=ially with architecture studio director Denise Keavency and chief landscape architect Chris Nolan, Viaa a pleasure.
“As general contractor,” he says, “we helped the conservancy complete the project economically and efficiently. That meant coordinating a whole complex of government agencies and weather station personnel, plus the full range of construction trades. We’re grateful for the craftsmanship and professionalism that our subcontractors brought to the project. “Overall, our growth into project management and new technologies marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for Graciano.”