Monday, March 31, 2014

Williamsburg Savings Bank - Weylin B Seymour's

Bank seen from opposite corner
Williamsburg Savings Bank
Williamsburg Savings Bank as Weylin B Seymour's lit up at night
Weylin B Seymour's at Night
Williamsburg Savings Bank Main Entrance
Williamsburg Savings Bank Main Entrance
Interior Photo of Williamsburg Savings Bank Main Entrance
Andrew Dolkart, an architectural historian and author was quoted by the New York Times stating that the Williamsburg Savings Bank qualified as "one of the most significant buildings in American architecture".[1] A precursor to the City Beautiful Movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Williamsburg Savings bank was ahead of its time when it was built in 1870-1875. The bank, designed by George B. Post with two later additions (1905 and 1925) designed by Helmle & Huberty was a classically styled building with monumental proportions and a complex articulation of building elements more commonly seen in later Beaux Arts style architecture.[2] In addition to the Williamsburg Savings Bank, Post's career highlights included the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange and early high-rises.[1] Helme & Huberty's additions to the bank include the wing to the left of the main entrance.[2]


Exterior of Williamsburg Savings Bank Dome
Williamsburg Savings Bank Dome
Interior shot of main dome of Williamsburg Savings Bank
Interior of WSB-Weylin B Seymour's Dome
The bank has undergone two restorations in as many decades. The first restoration was financed by its owner, Republic Bank and executed by architects Platt Byard Dovell in the mid-1990s. To the credit of the banks various owners, little remodeling work was undertaken during the life of the structure, leaving the original interior design mostly intact. Prior to restoration work by Platt Byard Dovell, the 20 monogramed oval windows in the drum below the dome had been covered with plywood, likely due to the blackouts of World War II. Except for the neon sign on the exterior of the bank, few of the building's elements were changed during the first restoration.[1] The second and more extensive restoration began after its last owner sold the building in 2010. Murals were cleaned and restored, new encaustic tiles matching those in the original floors were ordered, reproductions of the WSB monogramed door knobs were made from casts taken from the originals and the bird cage elevator was resurrected. In addition, the revolving door which had been installed at the main entrance while the building was still in use as a bank, was replaced with a replica of the original wood framed doors. A facsimile of the doors was made possible with the use of a historic photograph. The $27 million restoration project was awarded a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award.[3]

The bank building's latest restoration work was undertaken as part of a development project to repurpose the structure for an event space and banquet hall connected to a future hotel.[3] Sitting in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge and across from Peter Luger Steak House, the new event space is in a prime location for the development.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Seen in the slide show above is the restored interior of the bank including the bird cage elevator, hinge & door knob castings, tile floors, domes and various other features. After touring the interior of the Williamsburg Savings Bank - Weylin B Seymour's, I have to say that the current owners deserve a lot of credit and all of the accolades they have received to date for their work on the building.

Arch and sign above main building entrance

References:

  1. Kahn, Eve M. "50-Year Dark Age Ends in Brooklyn" New York Times. 4 May, 1995.
  2. Morrone, Francis An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2001
  3. "A Landmark Restored, From Mosaic Marble Floor to Grand Dome" New York Times online. 12 March, 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment