Belvedere Castle, located on the top of Vista Rock, was designed in 1869 by Calvert Vaux, co-designer of Central Park. The miniature castle was originally conceived as an open air folly, with walls of schist and granite, and wrought-iron beams supporting stone-slab floors and ceilings. In 1919, windows and doors were added to the building to allow it to be used as station of the U.S. Weather Bureau; it was effectively abandoned from the 1960s until a renovation in 1983, after which it opened as a visitor center.
Central Park Conservancy
After the years of an open layout, and subsequently during years of abandonment, water infiltration had affected all aspects of the structure. Old Structures was asked to provide structural engineering services for an extensive core and shell restoration of the Castle. Our work included assessing the cur- rent condition of the masonry and iron beams at the castle and terraces, and re-structuring two free-standing wood pavilions; designing repairs, including repairing rusted beams; rebuilding cantilevered stone balconies; and altering one of the pavilions to return it to its original configuration, with a side tower. This required field investigation and analysis of structural forms no longer in use, some of which had never functioned properly, and making design changes at a heavily-visited tourist destination.