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The New York Landmarks Conservancy Recognizes Urban Engineers and Prospect Park Wellhouse
Publication Date
May 31st 2019, 9:00 am

Urban is pleased to announce that the Reconstruction of the Prospect Park Wellhouse was recognized with an award certificate by the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards Committee.


As described by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Olmsted, Vaux & Co.’s Wellhouse features an eclectic style with Queen Anne, Gothic, and Stick-style details. It was originally part of the park’s watercourse system, with an enormous well in the front yard. When the system became redundant, the well was filled with earth and the Wellhouse declined. Decorative features were removed, the building deteriorated, and all traces of the well vanished. The most recent use was a maintenance shed.


This adaptive-use project began with a historic drawing that documented many lost elements: the historic façade, a cellar, and the well. The project team dug by hand and soon discovered the well’s brick ring, which became a seat wall. Excavation uncovered the original cellar and a tunnel connecting it to the well. This lower level made the Wellhouse a good candidate for a self-sustaining toilet composting system, the first in a city park. At the façade, roof finials and wooden windows were custom-made to match the originals. The finishing touch was a bright and historically appropriate color palette that matches the building’s lively style. Urban was brought in by the Prospect Park Alliance to perform special inspections during reconstruction, as is required by the New York City Building Code.


The Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards are the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s highest honors for outstanding preservation. The Conservancy has been a leader in preserving, restoring, and reusing New York City’s exceptional architectural legacy for over four decades. The Moses Awards have recognized individuals, organizations, architects, craftspeople and building owners for their extraordinary contributions to preserving New York City since 1991.