Olana State Historic Site will undergo a $25 million site improvement project over the next two years, including construction of the Frederic Church Center for Art and Landscape, a new entry and orientation facility at the historic site in Hudson, Columbia County.
The sustainably designed, all-electric Frederic Church Center will be a gateway to all visitors to Olana State Historic Site
The building will include a spacious entry lobby for ticketing and orientation, a café, restrooms, and a multipurpose room adjoining outdoor terraces and paths that connect to Olana’s historic carriage road network, making all 250 acres of the historic landscape a part of public interpretation. As the principal entry point for a National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site that attracts over 200,000 visitors annually, the Frederic Church Center is expected to provide a highly visible, publicly accessible demonstration of sustainable design and carbon neutral construction.
Olana was the 19th century home, studio and designed landscape of Hudson River School artist Frederic Edwin Church in Hudson. These major projects are the result of the award-winning Strategic Landscape Design Plan developed in 2015 between New York State Parks, The Olana Partnership, the LA Group, and Nelson, Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. The plan received the 2017 National Honor Award for Analysis and Planning from the American Society of Landscape Architects.
TOP has raised approximately $10 million in private donations and grants including a $1.4 million Empire State Development Market NY Regional Tourism Grant and $1.8 million in support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development Grant Program.
The design of the new Frederic Church Center features a whole building systems approach to achieve a low environmental impact and reduced energy consumption with minimal maintenance. It will also expand Olana’s visitor capacity by serving as a base for sitewide interpretive programming and recreational use. Construction is set to begin in Spring 2023 with an opening date of Spring 2024. There will be a yet-to-be-designed solar component.
To complement the Frederic Church Center and facility operations, design has already started on the expansion and upgrade of the existing Olana maintenance building. The building will have new functions such as electric equipment and vehicle charging stations and improved staff facilities. Site improvements will include better circulation in and around the maintenance area with provisions for improved equipment and materials storage facilities. This phase has a completion goal of late 2024.
The project also includes repainting Olana’s exterior in 2023 including windows, doors, porches and decorative cornices. Limited woodwork restoration and asbestos abatement of the window glazing will also be part of the project.
In addition, improvements to the Historic Farm Complex are underway, relocating a temporary parking area in the farm complex to restore the historic one-acre kitchen garden, improving lighting, creating ADA parking near Cosy Cottage, and repairing the dam and spillway in the lake.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by more than 78 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit their website.
Photo of Frederic Church Center provided.
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