The Octagon | Bentall Kennedy



The Octagon Renovation | Bentall Kennedy

Roosevelt Island is a community of 14,000 located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. Widely associated in popular memory with its namesake, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his dream of a thriving American middle class, the island has a deep and fascinating history. Today, preservation efforts seek to maintain the island’s historic landmarks for future generations. One of those landmarks is the Octagon.

The Octagon stands as an NYC landmark with over 150 years of history.  Designed by the renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis, the original octagon structure was completed in a signature five-story octagonal rotunda was designed by constructed with a stately blue-grey stone that was excavated on the island. 

While the original use of the building was intended as a retreat for the mentally ill, the rotunda was so prestigious that even novelist Charles Dickens marveled at this “wondrous creation of a flying spiral staircase that sprouted from the ground of illuminated glass-brick flooring”. 

The Octagon suffered from two fires in 1955 (after the closing of the hospital) and in 1982, which demolished the two wings that extended from the rotunda as well as the domed roof of the rotunda.

In 2006, Becker and Becker architects completed the adaptive reuse of The Octagon to multi-family apartments.  Now begins the second restoration in this century. Today Hartman Design Group teamed with Indus Architect PLLC, Bozzuto Management, Bentall Kennedy and landscape architects at HM White to transform this residential community into a modern and highly amenitized home.

Embracing the history of the island and the historic architecture of The Octagon, the design team is focused on creating a haven for NYC residents that choose Roosevelt Island as a peaceful alternative to Manhattan.

The existing stone & brick will be found throughout the amenities and corridors as the design makes a reference to geometry. After the renovation is completed, the building will lend itself to an “out of the box” approach to the design and palette. HDG hopes to bring concepts of the “urban garden” & an “artist retreat” in a cohesive way. The Octagon will offer a retreat / sanctuary away from the hectic and busy lifestyle of the city right across the water through biophilic design creating a healthy yet luxurious environment.