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Building Conservation Associates

Octagon Apartments

Location: Roosevelt Island, New York
Year Built: 1839
Original Architects: Alexander Jackson Davis (1839) Joseph M. Dunn (1878)

Designed by Alexander Jackson Davis in 1850, the Octagon, is the only surviving piece of the New York Pauper Lunatic Asylum. After a series of disastrous fires and years of neglect, the Octagon was left a ruin for over 20 years. In 1992, BCA developed a detailed plan for the stabilization and protection of this National Register Landmark. As part of the stabilization plan BCA prepared restoration plans and specification that were in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

In 2002, BCA was again involved with the Octagon, this time as the restoration consultant for the proposed redevelopment of the site for mixed-income housing. Using the latest software technology in conjunction with historic photographs, BCA prepared construction drawings allowing for the replication of historic features, such as the building’s long-missing dome, returning the building to its appearance in the early 20th century and serving as the centerpiece of the new apartment complex. In addition, BCA assisted in the preparing an Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit for the project.