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Central Park Conservancy, Bethesda Terrace Arcade / cast iron ceiling component decorative treatment and arcade lighting

WHEREAS, The application is for a lighting plan and the decorative painting of cast iron ceiling components; and

WHEREAS, The restoration of the historic Minton tile ceiling in the Bethesda Terrace Arcade is underway, and the Conservancy's restoration proposal as initially approved did not address the lighting of the ceiling or the decorative painting of its ornamental cast iron suspension framework; and

WHEREAS, At that time, the applicant proposed to design both the ceiling lighting and decorative painting in the context of restored panels that would allow them to prepare mock-ups, and the Conservancy has since developed the design of these elements accordingly; and

WHEREAS, No provision for artificial light was made in the original design of the Arcade, and the only integral lighting element in Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould's design was a skylight of colored glass, and the architects intended that the Arcade's floor and ceiling, both of which were originally encaustic tile (the current floor dates to 1912), would serve to brighten the space by reflecting indirect natural light; and

WHEREAS, Artificial lighting has been introduced to the Arcade in conjunction with the programmed use of the space at various periods in its history, and large pendant globe fixtures, suspended from the intersections of the ceiling's ornamental cast iron suspension grid, were installed as part of the restoration work of the 1980's; and

WHEREAS, The objectives of the lighting design for the Arcade are to light the Arcade by enabling the highly reflective surface of the restored Minton tile ceiling to illuminate the space as intended and respect the historic architectural and decorative fabric of the Arcade by adopting a minimalist approach to the fixture itself, and avoiding schemes that would require fixtures to be surface-mounted to the sandstone which contributed to its deterioration in the past; and

WHEREAS, The proposed design to achieve these objectives consists of:

WHEREAS, In absence of clear information about the color scheme, the design team established that the original cast iron treatment most likely included gold, and implemented a color scheme consisting of an artificial gold finish and tnemic paint in a single-color, and based on this analysis of relevant theory and utilizing a precedent design approach to the decorative painting of the cast iron ceiling components, gold will be used on the areas of highest relief , blue will serve as the mediating color, and red-brown will be used on receding areas; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five was impressed with the effort put forth by the Conservancy to restore the Bethesda terrace arcade ceiling to its original splendor; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of the application to paint the cast iron parts of the ceiling and install new lighting of the historic Minton tile ceiling in the Bethesda Terrace Arcade.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 29 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstention.

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