NEW YORK, NY.- The restoration of Donald Judds home and studio at 101 Spring Street in SoHos Cast Iron Historic District in New York City began on June 3, 2010 (the artists birthday) and will conclude three years later, in June 2013. Judd Foundation will open the five-story landmark to the public, offering programs and access to the building where Donald Judd lived with his family beginning in 1968, and which served as his New York studio until his death in 1994. The New York City design practice Architecture Research Office (ARO) leads Judd Foundations project team of consultants, which includes a preservation architect and consulting engineers.
In progress since the purchase in 1968, Judds renovation of the building initially focused on modifying it for his use. Later, there was a focus on restoring the historic parts of the building, but this was not completed before Judds death. In 2002, Judd Foundation installed temporary protective scaffolding that has remained in place for a decade. The scaffolding was recently removed, revealing the buildings façade with 1,300 restored original pieces of cast iron.
It was agreed that the most comprehensive restoration would include the removal, refurbishment, and reinstallation of all the decorative cast iron, allowing for the treatment of areas normally concealed. Fortunately, the nature of cast-iron construction allows for the systematic disassembly and reassembly of pieces, says Robert Bates, Principal at Walter B. Melvin Architects, preservation architects for the restoration of the facade at 101 Spring Street.
Flavin Judd, Judd Foundation Co-President and son of the artist, adds, 101 Spring Street is where the idea of permanently installing this kind of art was born, without Spring Street the history of art in the 20th century would be radically different. During Don's life he got to do some work on the building but never finished it. I had discussed with him some of the things that needed addressing and the building will finally be what he envisaged. We changed it as little as possible.
Explains Judd Foundation Co-President and daughter of the artist, Rainer Judd, Growing up in the building in the early 70s, it was always filled with artists discussing culture, history, and politics. Don hosted temporary exhibitions, community and activist meetings, and performances. We plan to open the building to the public next spring with that spirit in mind.
The building has been restored with the dual goals of non-interference to the original structure and Judds interventions, while preserving the art within. Its dramatic, light-filled spaces, featuring a higher ratio of glass to façade than other buildings of its era, are examples of the strength and ingenuity of cast-iron construction in 1870 when 101 Spring Street was erected. Each floor will remain as originally installed by Donald Judd with pieces from Judds collection of over 500 objects, including original sculpture, paintings, drawings, prints, and furniture by Judd himself, as well as works by Jean Arp, Carl Andre, Larry Bell, John Chamberlain, Marcel Duchamp, Dan Flavin, David Novros, Claes Oldenburg, Ad Reinhardt, Lucas Samaras, and Frank Stella, among others.
Led by board members Flavin Judd and Rob Beyer, the restoration projects goaland the mission of Judd Foundationis to preserve Judds living and working spaces as an example of what he achieved. AROs Principal Adam Yarinsky, FAIA, explains, Working within the place that was pivotal for Judds conception of art and architecture has been inspiring. The project has been one of the most challenging projects undertaken by ARO, demanding great sensitivity to both the historic cast-iron building and Judds vision of living spaces within it.
The restoration involves the repair and replacement of the original cast-iron façade and windows; modifying the buildings fire, life safety, and other infrastructure to meet code; cleaning and treating the artworks and objects Judd collected; and reconfiguring the lower levels to serve the Foundations administrative needs. The plan not only upholds the buildings original design and structure, but also carefully preserves the permanent installation of artworks, a key aspect of Judds legacy. These improvements will ensure the longevity of the historic landmark, and public access to it in the future.
Throughout the restoration project, 101 Spring Street is closed, yet Judd Foundation remains active through various programs, events, and projects, including work on developing the Judd catalogue raisonné.
101 Spring Street
The five-story building is the last-surviving, single-use, cast-iron building in the neighborhood, a distinction that has earned 101 Spring Street the highest designation for national significance as part of SoHos Cast Iron Historic District. Constructed in 1870 by Nicholas Whyte, 101 Spring Street was originally conceived for the purpose of light manufacturing. It is also among the founding sites of the Historic Artists Homes and Studios for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Purchased by Donald Judd in 1968, the building became his studio and primary residence, and eventually the birthplace of permanent installation, Judds philosophy that a work of arts placement is critical to ones understanding of the work itself. This concept has since become a hallmark of contemporary art and interior design. The buildings open space and lack of internal walls provided the ideal environment for the artists works, and those of other artists he admired.