For the past decade or so, most Greenpoint locals regarded Keramos Hall as just another dingy corner building. Now, thanks to Kamen Tall Architects P.C., the historic building’s façade has been restored to its original splendor, nabbing it a Lucy G. Moses award for preservation of New York heritage. Although now occupied by a rather contemporary CVS pharmacy, the building has been transported back to its original 1887 splendor, and sustainably preserved to continue its historic legacy for years to come.
The original Keramos Hall was built by Thomas C. Smith in 1887, and featured shingle siding and wooden architectural ornamentation that slowly deteriorated over the years. According to research and photographs found by Kamen Tall, the structure had a four-sided tower roof, window crowns and other eclectic ornamentation that was common to the Greenpoint Historic District. “Ghost” shadows of these elements could be found on the building’s façade, but their detailing had long been lost to the elements and construction over the years.
After extensive research, the firm set out to reestablish these period designs by Smith, including rebuilding the tower roof. The original wooden frame survived and was reinforced to ensure stability for the future. The building’s façade was originally constructed with Eastern Red Cedar, a wood no longer in use, so Kamen Tall used appropriate substitutes when needed, and added weather barriers to protect the surfaces.
The wooden tower was again crowned with a turret like roof, and the wooden ornamentation was added to the second and third levels of the building. Recognized by the New York Landmark Conservancy, the rehabilitation of Keramos Hall brings back the historic legacy of Greenpoint’s industrial past, which once served as a thriving community of ship builders, china makers and glass production.