public buildings

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adaptive use

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historic contexts

Rensselaer County Historical Society (Hart-Cluett House & Carr Building)
Troy, NY
Owner: Rensselaer County Historical Society

Project Type: Restoration; Historic Structure Report; Adaptive Reuse

The Hart-Cluett House, completed in 1827, is one of the finest intact townhouses of the late federal period in America. The 1983 discovery of several trunks containing Hart family papers that recorded family lifestyles, furnishings, and architectural endeavors places the mansion among the best documented nineteenth-century sites in the nation. The Historical Society first occupied the building in 1952, and in 1976 acquired the adjacent nineteenth-century townhouse now known as the “Carr Building.”

The Hart-Cluett House (left) and Carr Building (right).

John G. Waite Associates, Architects provided a wide range of architectural services to the historical society, starting with a historic structure report.  The Carr Building was renovated to include gallery and meeting spaces, a museum shop, collection storage, staff offices, and a local history library.  The firm also added a sprinkler system, new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, an elevator and ramped entry for handicapped access, as well as a corridor that connected the Carr Building with the Hart-Cluett House.

The subsequent restoration efforts focus on the Hart-Cluett House, utilizing the family’s collection of documentation and the earlier historic structure report.  JGWA directed restoration projects including a new slate roof and a complete exterior restoration. The next phase of interior restoration will include plaster work; electrical, heating, and plumbing systems, window repair, furnishings, and finishes based on a complete paint analysis.