tesla science center restoration. 2024

original 1906 nikola tesla lab restored in shoreham

Many of us are familiar with the impact Brookhaven National Labs, Cold Spring Harbor Labs, and Grumman Aerospace have had on our local economy and families, especially in advancing technology and the sciences.  Few of us are aware of the pioneering vision established by Nikola Tesla more than a century ago.  Hidden away for decades in Shoreham stands the only remaining Laboratory of Nikola Tesla, which after years of fundraising and planning is undergoing a major restoration.  bld architecture, along with local consulting engineers including Cameron Engineering, GEI Consultants, Aurora Contractors, EnviroScience, and Cataldo Architects, are donating their resources in working with Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, the Town of Brookhaven, and Suffolk County Department of Health on the first phase of renovation and development for the 16.5-acre property in Shoreham, New York.  The 10,000 gsf Laboratory was originally designed by renowned architect Stanford White, and included a 187-foot tall Transmission Tower designed by William David Crow, both from the NYC firm of McKim, Mead, and White. 

bld architecture science center restoration shoreham ny plan

The Lab and Tower were constructed between 1901 and 1902.  Originally, the property included 200 acres of farmland along the north shore of Long Island.  Due to financial constraints, Tesla was forced to abandon the property in 1913.  By 1915 the property was foreclosed, and the Tower demolished for scrap in 1917.  From 1939 until 1969 the site was acquired by Peerless and later operated by AGFA-Gavaert until 1987.  Peerless/AGFA converted the original Tesla lab for the manufacturing of photographic paper emulsions and added a number of industrial buildings to the property.  For more than thirty years, the Lab building has remained vacant and unoccupied.  While in a state of distress, and a more recent fire that created some sensational local news, a good amount of the original Lab building fabric and the Tower foundations remain today. These conditions are well documented in the Historic Structures Report produced by Lacey, Thaler, Reilly, Wilson Architecture & Preservation in Albany, NY.  In July 2018, Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Lab was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

bld architecture science center restoration shoreham ny lab elevations

This first phase of work includes the preservation and reconstruction of the 10,000 gsf Tesla Laboratory to its original authentic form.  Included with this restoration is the demolition and removal of the non-contributing industrial structures, conversion of the existing 1920’s Bauer House into a new Visitor’s Center, and a new sustainable parking lot that services the Lab and the Bauer House.  In addition, existing subgrade utilities and sanitary systems will be replaced with new incoming utilities required to service the Lab and Center along with new EV charging stations.  When complete, this first phase of renovation will honor the legacy of Nikola Tesla and Stanford White at the Lab and provide much needed administrative offices and teaching space at the new Visitor’s Center.

bld architecture science center restoration shoreham ny existing north elevation

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