Vassar College President's House

Vassar College President’s House

Location Poughkeepsie, NY

Category Education

Building Envelope Assessment and Repairs

Known for distinctive, medieval-revival-style cottages and mansions, Ehrick Rossiter of New York architecture firm Rossiter & Wright brought a dignified elegance to the home he designed for Vassar College President James Monroe Taylor in 1895. The intricate Flemish-bond brick facades, trimmed with sandstone, feature the arches, bay windows, soaring chimneys, and gabled rooflines that distinguish the medieval revival style, which influenced the architecture of subsequent buildings on the Vassar campus.

As home to all the college’s presidents from its turn-of-the-century completion to today, the stately mansion serves as reception hall to dignitaries, academics, and statesmen, and as salon for the airing of ideas and issues by the Vassar community. Insuring the longevity of such a cornerstone of the college was therefore extremely important to Vassar, which undertook a comprehensive rehabilitation of this historic building.

As the building envelope specialist for the project, Hoffmann Architects + Engineers designed a meticulous exterior restoration, including masonry repair and brownstone lintel replacement. At the outdoor terrace, Vassar looked to expand the usable space, while addressing deterioration and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. Hoffmann Architects redesigned the terrace, increasing its size and replacing deteriorated pavers and drainage systems. By re-grading the surrounding area, the design team was able to achieve accessibility without compromising aesthetics.

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