Amy Failla, principal at Baxt Ingui Architects, showed us some eye candy-like details—from both a preservation and a Passive House point of view—as she presented on the retrofit of Engine 16, a historic fire station that opened its doors in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan in the 1880s. In 1974 the building was converted to a church and then passed to new owners in 2014. Baxt Ingui is overseeing the building’s restoration and expansion to house four apartments and a community facility on the ground floor. The project won recognition from NYSERDA in its Buildings of Excellence Competition, one of the few retrofits to do so.
“We are treating it as a landmark building, even though it’s not in a landmark district,” explained Failla, as she showed off the beautiful historic detailing—the stunning arched windows, the original tin ceiling, the cast iron stair railing for starters—and described the firm’s preservation plans. As Failla explained, these details need to be coordinated so they work in tandem with the ambitious measures needed to achieve Passive House retrofit, or EnerPHit, performance targets. Catch the replacement window installation detail, complete with shade pocket, and how they are treating the above-grade exposed brick walls, among many others. Historic retrofits may never be intimidating again.