544 Cathedral Parkway

(aka 544-546 Cathedral Parkway) ( Explorers Club; Hotel Harmony; Harmony Hall )

544 Cathedral Parkway


Date: 1928-29

NB Number: 74-1928

Type:  Club Building and Hotel

Architect:  Birge, Charles E.

Developer/Owner/Builder: Explorers Holding Corp.

NYC Landmarks Designation:  Historic District

Landmark Designation Report: Morningside Heights Historic District

National Register Designation: N/A

Primary Style:  Federal Revival

Primary Facade:   Brick

Stories: 9

Historic District: Morningside Heights HD

Material(s): Brick; limestone; terra cotta

Status: Contributing

History, Significance and Notable Characteristics : This Federal Revival style building was designed in 1928 by Charles E. Birge and built to house the Explorers Club (founded in 1905), serving as its home until 1932. It was converted by new owners into the Hotel Harmony in 1934-35 and since the 1960s has been Harmony Hall, a Columbia University dormitory. The tripartite facade features a limestone base incorporating an entrance with a classically-inspired surround and oculus, brick laid in Flemish bond, arched fenestration with terra-cotta and/or brick surrounds, blind tympana, and metal railings, splayed brick lintels with terra-cotta keystones at the fourth and sixth stories, and bas relief roundels characteristic of the style. The west facade retains the remains of a painted sign advertising the Hotel Harmony that is visible above the adjacent lower scale building.

Site : Siamese standpipe; diamond plate hatch; pipe; short diamond plate ramp at service entrance

Street Sidewalk / Curb Materials: Concrete sidewalk and curb with metal edge

References: Office for Metropolitan History, “Manhattan NB Database 1900-1986” (February 4, 2016) http://www.MetroHistory.com; “Explorers Club Has New Home,” New York Times, April 14, 1929, 154; “West Side Losing Old Apartment,” New York Times, August 18, 1935, RE1; “Landmark Bought by Explorers Club,” New York Times, February 16, 1964, R1; “Harmony Hall,” WikiCU, http://www.wikicu.com/Harmony_Hall (September 7, 2016); New York County, Office of the Register, Deeds and Conveyances, Reel 126, p. 148 (November 30, 1966).

Alterations: Cathedral Parkway Facade: Windows and door replaced; lights; cameras with conduits; security
phone with conduit; service entrance reconfigured, door replaced; louvered vent below first-story
window; grilles at first story; signage
East Facade: Brick patched; windows replaced; railing at rear extension; leader
West Facade: Brick patched; metal vent; pipe; windows in light court replaced
Roof: Metal cap and flue added to brick chimney; bulkhead; water tank

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