The large historic Floyd Bennet Field (FBF) property is owned and
operated by the National Park Service (NPS). Built in 1928, the airfield
has been a great asset on both a national and local level. Starting out
as New York City’s first municipal airport and later becoming a naval
air station for the military. FBF was also the starting and ending point
for the famous circumnavigation flight of the globe completed by Howard
Hughes, as depicted in the 2004 film, “The Aviator”.
The 2 hangars near Flatbush Avenue had been vacant for decades. With
the roof half gone and the elements constantly challenging the structure
for so long, the buildings were long overdue for a restoration. The
new tenant, the Williams Gas Co., opted to restore the building under
the guidance of the NPS as an adaptive re-use. All of the original
elements would be restored to their former glory.
The 3 large buildings were home to over 200 large steel windows and
massive hangar doors. Each window and door was glazed using historic
textured glass with an embedded chicken wire pattern. This glass is no
longer commercially available. All of the replacement glass was custom
fabricated to match the original.
The large amount of water infiltration into the building, along with
the salt rich sea air degraded the steel windows at an exponential rate.
Each window completed a laundry list of repairs including multiple
Dutchmen and epoxy repairs to regain the original window profiles. In
some of the worst cases ~60% of some windows needed to be replaced with
Each piece of glass was set into the restored sash using a decorative
hand-tooled silicone glazing detail that simulates the presence of a 45*
mechanical glazing stop. Multiple pieces of historic hardware were
recast out of solid bronze to replicate the originals. All of the
ferrous window members and frames were coated with a custom color Tnemec
paint system prior to the reinstallation.
The before and after photos of the project are truly stunning.