Newhall Gardens wins Best Preservation Award

These photos and the following article were submitted by the New Haven Preservation Trust.

This year the New Haven Preservation Trust celebrates its 60th anniversary and recognizes the creativity and preservation of some unique structures built in the founding year of 1961. The Trust also reflects on the premonitory and deeply relevant vision of one of its founders and embraces a new Haven joins in the shared spirit of appreciation of our city’s multicultural heritage.

The 2021 winners are: Newhall Gardens (Housing Preservation Award), Conte / West Hills Magnet School (Merit plaque), New Haven Fire Headquarters (Central Station) (Landmark Plaque), Carroll LV Meeks (Margaret Flint Award) and Ethnic Heritage Center (60th anniversary award).

Newhall Gardens

Housing Preservation Award: for housing of historical architectural significance as an outstanding representative of its time, exhibiting much of its original character due to ongoing maintenance or sensitive rehabilitation.

Newhall Gardens
5-45 rue Marguerite

Architect: Granbery, Cash & Associates
Built by: New Haven Housing Authority
Date: 1961-1962

1961 was a year of great change in the built world in and around New Haven. In this time of change, 8,000 people in 11 neighborhoods have been displaced, creating the need for new places to live in New Haven. This effort included Newhall Gardens completed in 1962, built to house the elderly.

Carleton Granbery and Diana Granbery created this new community, intentionally separate from the two-story gabled-roof homes and institutional or commercial buildings that line the neighborhood. Taking over half the block on Daisy Street, the resort places all of its walls and roofs at a 45-degree angle to the surrounding streets.

Newhall Gardens was to consist of 36 ground-floor senior housing units, 16 one-bedroom units and 20 studios – all with their own entrances and direct exterior access from inside each unit to the patios. There were 10 buildings, with the residential units connected by walkways spanning three rooftops, as well as a 900 square foot freestanding social hall. A comprehensive design of the site created walkways, terraces, parking and included trees, making an exterior extension of the floor plans.

These plans required a 21st century overhaul as energy efficiency, ADA compliance and over 40 years of wear and tear were addressed. The rainwater that had covered the generous gutters is now controlled by gutters. Steel casement windows with open glass have been replaced with energy efficient split glass units. New fencing, site lighting and decks have been added and HVAC systems, kitchens and bathrooms have been updated while retaining the modern look of its original form. The tiny studios were enlarged without increasing the perimeter of the buildings, so the number of apartments was reduced from 36 to 26 units.

Newhall Gardens is an exceptional manifestation of the spirit of New Haven in 1961. It was built in an era of reinterpretation and redesign. This example of new thinking has been a huge success, creating a community that makes New Haven better, then and now.

Conte / West Hills Magnet School

Plaque of Merit: for historic buildings that have been authentically restored or sensitively rehabilitated for appropriate use.

Conte / West Hills Magnet School
511, rue de la Chapelle

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Built by: City of New Haven
Date: 1961

Additions: Newman Architects, PC
Date: 1999

Designed by one of America’s foremost representatives of modern architecture, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Harry A. Conte School was built in the Wooster Square neighborhood in 1961. Designed by partner SOM Gordon Bunshaft and SOM associate partner Natalie de Blois as ‘temples in a field’, the school consisted of three white precast concrete buildings surrounded by imposing colonnades: a two-story classroom building in the middle, an auditorium separate 250 seats and a public library branch opposite Wooster Place. The school was built to serve as a neighborhood resource and has integrated many public amenities.

In 1999-2000, two additions by Newman Architects provided a new entrance on Chapel Street, additional classrooms, and a closed connection between the school building and the auditorium. The additions connect the school to the neighborhood while expressing a distinct character all of their own. The Trust recognizes the thoughtful balance of scale and character demonstrated by this addition to a Modernist masterpiece.

New Haven Fire Headquarters (Central Station)

Landmark plaque: for buildings or sites of exceptional and lasting architectural and historical significance.

New Haven Fire Headquarters (Central Station)
952 Grand Avenue

Architect: Carlin & Pozzi Architects
Built by: City of New Haven
Date: 1961

A clearly distinct and monumental marker located at a high point of the Elm Street and Grand Avenue corridor between downtown and the Wooster Square neighborhood, this 1961 fire station has always been emphatically quirky and sculptural, attempting to ‘take a closer look. On approach, on foot or by car, its crenellated towers of varying heights reinforce the angularity of the angle on which it takes place while indirectly complementing the various buildings in the immediate environment.

Its cast-in-place concrete walls reveal a regular repetitive language of vertical concrete formwork indentations, underlined by shadows, evolving upward over the surfaces of its exterior walls, especially as towers rise and fall unexpectedly at the top. four corners of the building. The indentations on the shorter towers on the south side of the building also whimsically follow the ups and downs of the stairwells inside. This visual excitement, easily felt from the street or the sidewalk, reinforces the feeling of a fire department always ready to respond quickly.

The interior of the building contains a series of very orderly spaces providing maximum efficiency of function while the firefighters wait and respond to their calls to duty. The original highly polished brass poles are still used to quickly lower firefighters from their sleeping / living quarters on the upper floor to the parking space on the lower level. The original offices, located on the south side of the building (between Olive and Artizan streets), are the only original element of the program that had to be expanded, as the communication needs of the fire department increased over time. The solution in the 1970s was to fill the original balcony on the top floor with this rear facade. The result is barely noticeable, preserving the original functionality of the building inside as well as its visual integrity through the rear elevation.

The central station fire headquarters building is a visual surprise to those who come across it. It is a solid, sensational and lasting delight, quite honored by its sixty years.

Carroll LV Meeks

Margaret Flint Award: For individuals or organizations whose support for preservation in New Haven City has contributed to the integrity of the community, the protection of its historic resources, and the appreciation of its history.

Carroll LV Meeks, 1907-1966
First president of the NHPT, 1961-1963

The first president of the New Haven Preservation Trust, Carroll LV Meeks was a teacher, author, past national president of the Society of Architectural Historians, and chairman of the preservation committee of the American Institute of Architects.

During the Trust’s early years, Professor Meeks skillfully transformed a group of passionate volunteers into an authoritative advocate for the benefit of the community. He orchestrated the incorporation process, launched a membership drive, and presided over the awarding of the Trust’s first six Landmark plaques in 1962.

Sadly, Professor Meeks passed away in 1966. At this time, the future of the Oliver North House at 604 Chapel Street, designed by Henry Austin, caused great concern. When a developer offered to renovate the house to historic standards, the Trust agreed to finance the reconstruction of its elegant dome. In early 1967, members voted that the new tower on Oliver North House be a memorial to the late Carroll Meeks.
The Trust honors Carroll LV Meeks for his unprecedented work on behalf of the organization during its early years.

Ethnic Heritage Center

60th Anniversary Award: For an organization that has successfully promoted public recognition of New Haven’s diverse heritage.

Ethnic Heritage Center
Founded: 1988
Based at: Southern Connecticut State University

The Ethnic Heritage Center was established in 1988 to combine five existing ethnic historical societies. African-American, Italian-American, Jewish, Ukrainian-American, and Irish-American historical societies have come together to provide an incredible range of programs and resources, and to safeguard the records of these and other organizations. Since 1992, the Ethnic Heritage Center has enjoyed a unique relationship with Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), which provides their physical home and venues for exhibits, programming and archival space. These exhibits have focused on New Haven’s diverse cultural heritages and have been featured in many local venues over the past 20 years, starting with “An Ethnic History of New Haven,” the Centre’s flagship exhibit featured in their exhibits. facilities on the SCSU campus. The Centre’s self-guided “Walk New Haven” tours and books reveal the provenance of these heirlooms on the streets of the city.

These tours have included Wooster Square, the Lower Dixwell neighborhood, and the central and northern neighborhoods of downtown New Haven. The books that accompany these self-guided tours use drawings, photos and maps to bring places in history to life today. Self-guided “Walk New Haven” tours also celebrated the people and places of New Haven. For example, Eli and Sarah Rosner’s grocery store, performer Lillian Lumpkin, San Carlino Theater, and Terese Falcigno’s furniture store were part of the Grand Avenue physical tour, marking history and rekindling memories.

History is a subject, but it is embodied in the records and products of our culture. These physical artifacts can disappear, unless care is taken to preserve the fragile tangible relics of our past. This is what the New Haven Ethnic Heritage Center does. The establishment of the Center at SCSU preserved the archives of their constituent societies. In addition, the Center helped safeguard the archives of the New Haven public school system and the Q-House.
A tapestry may be beautiful, but a quilt adds a richness of context and history, and the New Haven Preservation Trust is delighted to recognize the Ethnic Heritage Center as it reveals the glorious quilt of New Haven cultures and history. .

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