Built from 1867-1899, the New York State Capitol in Albany is a National Historic Landmark. Architect Thomas Fuller designed the building's original scheme, which was selected through an architectural competition.
"By 1894, capitol architect Isaac Perry had enlarged the design to feature a 50 foot tower capped by a dome. The tower's base was built but its completion was postponed indefinitely under Governor Theodore Roosevelt's administration (1898-1900) in order to rein in costs and complete the building's construction. By 1900, floor levels had been inserted into the vertical tower space and office were created on all of the upper levels." (Excerpted from OGS brochure).
"The Flag Room proposed for the New York State Capitol" (after World War I) "required removal of a major portion of the second floor to create a monumental space for a war memorial." The state commissioned a prominent New York City muralist, William deLeftwich Dodge, to paint ceiling murals that would illustrate the room's military theme and the walls of the new two-story space were to be clad with black marble, inscribed with names of fallen soldiers.
The Depression brought the project to an abrupt end and while the mural was completed the rest of the design was never carried out - creating odd architectural disjunctions between the mural and the rest of the room. The scheme developed by FBA to resolve the conflict between the original architecture and the unfinished Dodge design calls for the removal of all the secondary unpainted vaults and the restoration of the murals and stone piers; a new plaster edge detail will allow the mural to "float" to express its non-structural nature, FBA designed new bronze torcheres to light the mural. The design of the 8 torcheres incorporates the water patterns of the Hudson River, the prows of the packet ships that used to ply it and a declarative "New York State" in a fanciful "story telling" scheme.
The Capitol Commission was able to acquire several Stickley furniture pieces from New York State armories and the octagonal pattern of the ceiling is reinforced by the furniture layout.
American Institute of Architects: Award of Merit, 2003.
"Capitol Improvements" by Ned Depew; Berkshire Home & Style, October 2003.
"Stately Home" by Eve M. Kahn; Traditional Building, May/June 2004
"Past Perfect": Preservation - The Magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, May/June 2006
Owner: New York State Office of General Services
Andrea Lazarski, Executive Director of the Commission on the Restoration of the Capitol
Scope of Services: Full architectural and engineering services
Architect: Françoise Bollack Architects
Foundry (torcheres): New Arts Foundry, Baltimore
Ceiling murals restoration: Williamstown Art Conservation