New York is nothing if not a city of change and, as such, is home to some of the finest examples of adaptive reuse (i.e., repurposing a property for a different application than it was originally intended) on the planet! Take, for example, the High Line, a 1.45-mile stretch of disused elevated train track in Chelsea that has since been transformed into a bucolic urban park. Or the Swedish photography museum Fotografiska, which set up shop in Gramercy Park’s glorious Church Missions House, the former headquarters of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Then there’s Cipriani Wall Street, the famed Financial District eatery that slings cocktails and serves up high-end Italian fare at a striking Greek Revival building that once housed the New York Merchants’ Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, the United States Customs House and National City Bank.
And now, a historic refectory (aka a formal dining hall) is being reconstituted as an indoor pool as part of Claremont Hall, a 41-story mixed-use tower currently being constructed on the grounds of Union Theological Seminary in Morningside Heights. Easily one of Manhattan’s most beautiful sites, the gorgeous campus was designed by architects Francis Richmond Allen and Charles Collens in 1910. Comprised of a stunning array of English Gothic-style structures situated around a leafy central courtyard just steps from Riverside Park, Riverside Church and Columbia University, the Christian-based learning institution looks straight out of an Ivy League fairy tale!
And several lucky Manhattanites will soon have the chance to call it home – all thanks to a rather unique twist of fate.