212 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY

Vertical Access was retained by Madison Equities to perform a hands-on investigation of the exterior façades of 212 Fifth Avenue in order to assist the project team led by Helpern Architects with the preparation of construction documents for the repair of the building.

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Building description

212 Fifth Avenue is a 20-story, masonry-clad steel-frame building constructed between 1912 and 1913. Designed by the architecture firm of Schwartz & Gross, it was originally occupied by stores and offices of several garment companies. The building has ornamental stone, brick and terra cotta cladding and large window openings. Terra cotta is the primary cladding material above the 15th floor, and comprises highly decorative neo-medieval detailing throughout the building, including oral bosses, grotesques, cartouches, and shields. A tall terra cotta parapet was previously removed from the building, leaving in place exposed steel columns rising from the roof. The large windows on the street façades are copper-clad kalamein windows, and the south façade windows are steel-frame double hung windows. 212 Fifth Avenue is located within New York City’s Madison Square North Historic District, with street façades on Fifth Avenue, West 26th Street, and Broadway.


  • Perform a hands-on investigation of all four exterior façades of 212 Fifth Avenue, including a two-story penthouse.
  • Provide detailed documentation of existing conditions for use by project team to prepare construction documents.


  • Used industrial rope access to inspect all areas of the building exterior and documented notable and representative conditions using digital photography and annotated AutoCAD drawings.
  • Performed live-feed video documentation of representative areas to allow project team members to view and discuss conditions in real time.
  • Measured and documented projecting distances of sills and the terra cotta face at column lines relative to a plumb line.
  • Obtained mortar samples for analysis by others.

Building owner

  • Extell Development

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