Helen Hall Youth Center Renovation

The project consists of a renovation of the cellar & 1st floor of the Helen Hall Youth Center (a multi-generational community facility that includes daycare, young adult programs, and senior classes) to include new a new ADA Accessible main entrance and an enlargement of the main lobby at the 1st floor.


Location: 301 Henry Street New York, NY

Client/Owner: Henry Street Settlement

General Contractor: DeConstruction


MEP Engineering: Rodkin Cardinale

Structural: GMS Engineering

Lighting: Whitehouse Lighting Design

Expediting: Anzalone Architecture

Project Status: Built

Size: 9,500 sq. feet

Additional Information: History of 301 Henry Street

Note that Henry Street built the Youth Center in two phases: the red brick building on the right was completed in 1948 as “Pete’s House”, and the blue & yellow building – the Charles & Stella Guttman Building – was completed as an addition to Pete’s House in 1962.

Photo from 1962 showing both halves of the Youth Center; despite their very different styles, both were designed by the firm of DeYoung & Moskowitz.

We enlarged the main lobby by creating a new opening to the Pete’s House lobby and connecting to it with an ADA ramp. To further emphasize the connection, a new wood ceiling was provided for both lobbies, and a new terrazzo floor was provided at the east lobby to match the color of the main lobby floor. Note the original, restored green & blue glass mosaic tile, and the new orange mosaic to provide a warm complement.

The old reception desk was replaced with a new, larger desk & credenza that now faces the main entrance, can serve more people, and due to its lower counter level is ADA Accesible and more approachable for children. Note the wall-wash lighting that highlights the restored glass mosaic tile, and the restored marble-chip terrazzo floor, both from 1962 and ready for more decades of service.

1st Floor diagram showing original building on left (with removals in red) and renovation on right with new connection between main and east lobby.

Cellar diagram showing original building on left (with removals in red) and renovation on right with new commercial kitchen.

We enlivened the corners of our new entrance vestibule with dichroic glass (which casts light in rainbows, to the delight of the children and this architect) and replaced the solid kneewalls at the stairwell with open railing to maximize light penetration to the cellar. The addition of the wood ceiling and orange tile brought a welcome warmth to the color palette, while the restoration of the original elements – including the Nelson-esque wall clock – retained the building’s 1960s character.

For comparison, here’s the lobby as constructed in 1962; we restored the nice pieces (marble floor, glass mosaic tile) and replaced those that needed it (1×1 tile ceiling, reception desk).

Less visible to the public but just as vital is the new commercial kitchen in the cellar, fitted with all modern fixtures, including a walk-in refrigerator, and used to provide fresh meals to the building and surrounding community via Henry Street’s Meals on Wheels program.

Refurbished ground floor classrooms with high open ceilings, new lighting and central air conditioning.