John Davies, partner at the Hall Partnership Architects, is the project architect for the ongoing renovation of the historic Pratt Townhouses on the Brooklyn campus, which are being transformed into housing for undergraduate students. Phase Four of the project, which will have a total of seven phases, will begin in January 2015 with the renovation of four more townhouses along Willoughby Avenue. To date, 13 of the 27 townhouses have been completed and reoccupied. The renovations include Wi-Fi, energy-efficient lighting, and other up-to-date features.
Built over a hundred years ago, the Colonial Revival townhouses originally housed workers from Charles Pratt’s Astral Oil Works, and later served as faculty housing. With separate bathrooms and kitchens, windows in every room to provide ample light and air, and easy access for ice delivery and garbage removal, the residences were considered state-of-the-art in the early twentieth century. They have been designated New York City landmarks.
As an alumnus, Davies brings a unique perspective to the project, and remembers seeing the Pratt Townhouses from his dorm room every day as an undergraduate in the early seventies. Coming back to the Institute to work on the renovation project “feels like coming home again,” he says.
Text and Production: Marion Hammon
Video and Production: Peter Tannenbaum
Still Images (in Video): Pratt Institute Archives (Faculty House painting, Astral Oil Advertisement)