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The Octagon
New York, NY

Roosevelt Island is a community located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. Widely associated with its namesake, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the island has a deep history. Today, preservation efforts seek to maintain the island’s historic landmarks for future generations. Originally built in 1834 as the NYC mental health hospital, The Octagon is one of those landmarks.

After suffering two fires in 1955 and again in 1982, in 2006, the structure was restored and adapted to a multi-family property. It’s second restoration began in 2014 when Bozzuto Management and BentallGreenOak teamed with Hartman Design Group to transform this residential community into a modern, highly amenitized haven for NYC residents.

By beginning the project with intensive research, branding, and a collaborative strategy phase, the design team built a unique, authentic story of the property. While adding an alluring modern twist to the amenities and common areas, the concept was to embrace the historic architecture and story of the island.

Connecting the distinctive exterior building material with the interiors, the original stone block walls were exposed to the interior spaces wherever possible, and the remaining historical elements such as the large entry doors in the new clubroom became a nod-to-the-past focal point in a modern space. With its dramatic spiral staircase, the renovated lobby design is a backdrop to the original five-story octagon geometry. Taking an “out of the box” approach to historic renovation, the palette of white, black, teal, and magenta are grounded by soft neutrals and warm woods.

Throughout the common areas, active and social spaces emanate a sense of community and create an engaged resident culture. Every nook and cranny are designed to provide an opportunity for the residents to find their personal space to workout, work, play, and socialize.

With an active art community and historical society on the island, a public gallery within the lobby highlighting local artists and historic photos connects The Octagon with the community at large.

Overlooking the East River and Manhattan, this unique property is blessed with expansive green space that includes a pool, outdoor amenities, and a community garden. Recognizing the therapeutic health properties that come from a connection between nature and the built environment, the HDG design team used Biophilic features throughout the interior. Natural textures, authentic materials, and botanicals create a sanctuary for residents within a bustling urban environment.

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