In this turnkey restoration project, the Graciano project management team oversaw the entire scope of work — not just the usual artistic historic restoration, but mechanical, utilities and interior construction efforts as well. 

Designed as an architectural folly by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, Central Park’s 150-year-old Belvedere Castle had housed U.S. Weather Bureau personnel and equipment since 1920. The weather station was automated in 1960, deserted and almost forgotten. The structure quickly declined. Although the Central Park Conservancy (CPC) stepped in to rescue the crumbling castle in 1983, difficulties with drainage, weatherproofing and climate control persisted. 

In 2018, CPC asked Graciano Corporation to restore the landmark from bedrock to rooftops — updating mechanicals and utilities and adding a state-of-the-art geothermal system, while preserving the castle’s historic charm. On a tight, 16-month schedule, the Graciano team: 

  • Painted 15,000 square feet of original schist, granite and bluestone masonry
  • Cleaned all 15,000 square feet of masonry using low-pressure Rotec Vortex micro-abrasives 
  • Installed 2,500 18″x18″ bluestone pavers and 30 18″x18″ bluestone terrace slabs 
  • Matched and inset almost 1,500 bluestone and granite “Dutchman” patches 
  • Replaced 75 linear feet of granite coping 
  • Rebuilt 275 square feet of parapet wall 
  • Replaced every roof slate on the castle and its two pavilions 
  • Replaced all windows and doors 
  • Repaired or replaced all interior floors and ceilings 
  • Upgraded interior and exterior lighting to LED technology 
  • Modernized drainage and waterproofing systems 
  • Installed the climate control system, which required drilling a 400-foot geothermal well through solid rock 

Read more about the ​​Belvedere Castle on Madame Architect

Project Details


Project Included

Glossary Terms