Robert A.M. Stern Architects Overhauls The Belnord, One of Manhattan’s Last Iconic, Full-Block Buildings

“The Belnord is a modern palazzo”

Hadley Keller, Architectural Digest, July 16, 2018

“It’s one of the grandest residential buildings in New York,” says Robert A.M. Stern of his latest project. No, he’s not referring to one of the many sleek, new, high-rise apartment buildings offering up super-luxe living and sweeping views. He’s talking about The Belnord, a 1908 grand dame by Hiss & Weekes on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, one of the last remaining full-block residential buildings in the city, which Stern’s Robert A.M. Stern Architects is in the midst of returning to its former glory—with some present-day twists.

“It’s a modern palazzo,” says the architect, who spoke to AD PRO over a series of new renderings of the building’s public spaces and individual apartments, which are being developed by HFZ Capital Group and Westbrook Partners. Informed by the principles of that specific type of urban residence, The Belnord is a relic of New York’s grandiose—and far less crowded—past.

“It belongs to this special sequence of New York building,” Stern explains. “Courtyard apartments, grand palazzi, which began with the Dakota in 1880, designed by Henry Hardenbergh.” Other notables in the genre include Charles Platt’s Astor Place, Clinton & Russell’s Graham Court and The Apthorp, and 1185 Park Avenue by Schwartz & Gross. Many more fell victim to New York’s various building booms and have since been razed to make way for high-rise office towers.

“We work from the same principles no matter what we do. We try to respect the past and be inventive with what we learn from the past. Often in a building, we look to the past and then interpret it to move forward. Here, we are looking to the past and encountering it directly.”

Bob Stern

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The Belnord's Italian Renaissance archway

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