Polhemus Memorial is a condominium project located on Henry Street in the Cobble Hill Historic District Extension in Brooklyn. The project transforms the former Polhemus Memorial Clinic, originally constructed in 1897 as a teaching hospital.
The nation’s first eight-story “skyscraper” vertical hospital, the Polhemus Memorial Clinic was founded as an extension of a nearby hospital for the impoverished and included a hybrid of medical and educational facilities. The clinic’s brick and limestone home was, and remains, distinctive within a context of townhouse-scale neighboring buildings. In the last few decades Cobble Hill has evolved into a predominantly residential neighborhood, replacing remnants of the industrial and commercial history with residential conversions and new construction. The Polhemus Memorial is the centerpiece of historic medical buildings in the area, and its ability to house residential apartments that lived up to the grandeur of its exterior was a key consideration in our work. The 51, 900 sf 17-unit adapted residential program, bears no similarity to the range of patient rooms, surgical facilities, labs, and teaching auditoriums previously found within and the conversion necessitated radical reconfiguration of every floor.
The interior design work – entry lobby, amenities, unit plans and material choices throughout – was conceived as a balance of traditional and contemporary elements, sometimes involving the re-creation of decorative features and incorporating geometrically-patterned stone floors. The condominium now offers an on-site concierge, private underground parking, and three levels of indoor and outdoor amenities – including a yoga studio and gym; lounge and music room; and private roof deck with a kitchen and seating overlooking the East River. The building’s proposed renovations were unanimously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.