India HouseThe Conservancy was pleased to award this masterful restoration of India House a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award in April 2005.
One Hanover Square, today housing the India House club and Bayard’s restaurant, is one of the earliest surviving Italianate style buildings in Manhattan. It was built in 1854 for the Hanover Bank. Its ornate facades were clad in the then newly fashionable brown sandstone or brownstone. The facade restoration campaign, begun in 2003, is now complete.
By the 1920s, the facades had deteriorated badly, so the brownstone was chipped back and layers of stucco were applied to reproduce the original appearance of the brownstone. The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission required India House to grant an easement to the Conservancy in 1981, when it transferred air rights to a nearby site. In turn, the Conservancy is required to regularly inspect the building and promote its upkeep.
By 2000, the facades were in hazardous condition. The stucco was badly decayed, and numerous air conditioning units marred the classical composition of the facade. The Conservancy pressed the owners to address these conditions.
After the air conditioners were removed and a central system installed, all three principal facades were restored from top to bottom. The delicate floral capitals of the entryway columns and pilasters were recarved. Other details, such as the foliated window brackets that had been lost in a second re-surfacing in the 1950s, were recreated one by one to match the nineteenth century originals. The result authentically reflects the formality and symmetry of the Italian Classical style as it was interpreted in America during the mid-nineteenth century. India House has been reborn, its original architectural grandeur recaptured.