Bayard-Condict Building is New York’s only sample of the Chicago School architecture of Louis H. Sullivan. The 12-story steel-framed, terra-cotta-clad office building was considered a skyscraper when it was completed in 1899. It still glows a warm white at the T intersection of Bleecker and Crosby Streets, thanks to painstaking restoration in 1996.
The six-year, $800,000 project repaired almost 1300 terra cotta tiles; only 30 had to be replaced. In addition, restoration architects Wank Adams Slaving Associates located one of the elaborate original store front column capitals that had been ripped out during an early renovation – and made copies to restore the ground floor to its original design.
Louis Sullivan’s architectural innovation was to abandon the custom of designing and ornamenting buildings in the styles of the past – Beaux Arts, Classical Revival, Romanesque, etc. Instead, he created forms that accentuated a building’s height and structure – thin steel beams instead of massive masonry columns. Decoration, too, was modernized and Americanized.
(It should be noted that the six angels crowning the Bayard-Condict Building were not Sullivan’s idea. They were ordered by Silas Alden Condict.)
The building’s financial form was not as well designed as its facade. New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission notes that though the structure’s original name was to be Bayard Building, none of the prominent Bayard family was financially involved. The point became moot when construction delays resulted in a recall of the mortgage: New owners Emmeline and Silas Condict changed the name to Condict Building. A scant five months after the tower’s completion, the Condicts sold it to Charles T. Wills, the builder – who revived the Bayard name.
Bayard-Condict Building Vital Statistics
- Location: 65 Bleecker Street at Crosby Street
- Year completed: 1899
- Architect: Louis H. Sullivan and Lyndon P. Smith
- Floors: 12
- Style: Chicago School
- New York City Landmark: 1975
- National Register of Historic Places: 1976
Bayard-Condict Building Recommended Reading
- Wikipedia entry
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report
- Columbia University: The Architecture and Development of New York City
- Daytonian in Manhattan blog
- The New York Times Commercial Real Estate; A Sullivan Is Restored With Honor (January 9, 2002)
- The New York Times MAKING IT WORK; Angels For All Seasons (December 20, 1998)