Last week the NY State Historic Preservation Board voted UNANIMOUSLY to approve GVSHP’s nomination of the entire Westbeth complex for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Listing on the State Register is now virtually assured, while the federal government will consider the State’s strong support for the nomination in the coming weeks.
Listing on the Registers for the first time recognizes and honors the ground-breaking significance of this first-of-its-kind artists’ affordable housing development, and provides the opportunity for grants and loans to help preserve these historic buildings.
With a grant from the JM Kaplan Fund, GVSHP spent three years documenting the entire history of how the abandoned Bell Telephone Labs on the Greenwich Village waterfront were converted into non-profit live/work spaces for artists. This transformed not only the gritty, partly abandoned Far West Village neighborhood, but this radical idea set the stage for a transformation of post-industrial buildings, neighborhoods, and cities across the globe. Read GVSHP’s nomination by Professor Andrew Dolkart, and see pictures of the complex, HERE.
In order to document this extraordinary history, GVSHP conducted interviews with key figures in the complex’s birth, including project architect Richard Meier and Merce Cunningham. You can read all the interviews in their entirety HERE.
In the coming weeks, GVSHP will be conducting programs celebrating the history of Westbeth and its listing on the Register of Historic Places.