CORBIN BUILDING, 
FULTON CENTER

Downtown Manhattan, New York, NY

HABS DOCUMENTATION, RESTORATION, REHABILITATION & ADAPTIVE RE-USE

"THE CORBIN BUILDING IS SIGNIFICANT FOR BOTH AESTHETIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN ARCHITECTURE. DESIGNED BY ARCHITECT FRANCIS HATCH KIMBALL (1845-1919) FOR THE PROMINENT BANKER AND REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER AUSTIN CORBIN, THE CORBIN BUILDING (1888-1889) IS A PROTO-SKYSCRAPER: AN EARLY TALL COMMERCIAL BUILDING, REACHING NINE STORIES"

      -- From HABS Level I Documentation, prepared by PACA

Predating the use of pneumatic-driven caisson footings necessary for the steel-frame construction of true skyscrapers, the structure is still supported by load bearing masonry walls. 

The Corbin Building represents several important developments in building technology: 

Incorporation of Guastavino tile structural floor arches, designed for fire resistance, superior ability to accommodate large floor loads, and for streamlining and speeding construction.  Pioneering use of elaborate terra cotta decoration is another notable feature of the Corbin Building.

An early example of “fast-track construction” – excavation was underway before plans were completed.  Construction was completed in the relatively short time frame of eleven months, from 1888 to 1889. 

The elevator, an essential feature for tall buildings, was furnished by Otis.

For photo credits roll cursor over photo gallery 

For photo credits roll cursor over photo gallery 

Location 

Downtown Manhattan, New York City

Client 

New York City Transit Authority / MTA-Capital Construction

Corbin Building Design Team

Page Ayres Cowley Architecture, LLC (PACA) : Architect of Record

ARUP: Prime Consultant, Engineering Services 

Corbin Building Contractor & Specialty Sub-Contractor 

Judlau Contracting Inc., General Contractor;

Brisk Waterproofing Company, Masonry Restoration

Fulton Center Design Team

Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, Ltd 

HDR / Daniel Frankfurt: Fulton Street Subway & Underpass

Completion Date

2014

The project was directed by ARUP who served as the Engineer of Record for the Fulton Transit Center. PACA was one of three architects who served as the Architect of Record for the Corbin Building, the passageway links to the below-grade excavation and the connection to Grimshaw's new building.

Slated initially for demolition, PACA was retained to undertake a HABS (Historic American Building Survey) documentation and Level 1 Assessment Report, which together with local residents and the aid of several preservation advocacy groups (the NY Landmarks Conservancy and the Down Town Alliance), secured the Corbin Building as part of the Fulton Center. The HABS Report, and the initial historic appraisal prepared by Mary Dierickx, served as supporting documentation for the designation of the building as both an NYC Landmark and its entry on the National Register of Historic Places. 

As part of the rehabilitation and restoration of the building, extensive code compliance and exterior restoration were required -- from the foundation to the roof. Significant structural modifications were inserted to provide seismic and wind-load bracing.

THE CORBIN BUILDING HAS RECEIVED SEVERAL AWARDS FOR THE CORBIN BUILDING INCLUDING:

LUCY MOSES AWARD

AIA NY  STATE AWARD OF MERIT FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION  

AIA  EXCELSIOR AWARD

ACEC DIAMOND AWARD

THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL

©2019  PAGE AYRES COWLEY ARCHITECTURE, LLC