Roosevelt House History

The Restoration of Roosevelt House

  • 47-49 East 65th Street: Roosevelt House

    47-49 East 65th Street: Roosevelt House

Roosevelt House flourished as a vibrant center for student government and for academic and social events until 1992, when, in need of extensive repair, the building was closed. Under President Jennifer J. Raab’s leadership, public funds were secured for an extensive renovation and Roosevelt House re-opened in 2010. Additional private funds are being raised to help furnish and operate the house and to support programming.

James Stewart Polshek of Ennead (formerly Polshek Partnership Architects), led the restoration of Roosevelt House. The firm is internationally recognized for modern design as well as excellence in restoring educational and cultural institutions, is leading the restoration of Roosevelt House. Among the firm’s many acclaimed projects are the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History, the Clinton Presidential Library, and the renovation of Carnegie Hall. The original architect, Charles A. Platt, designed the stately Neo-Georgian townhouse as two mirror-image residences with a single facade and entrance. Each first floor had its own front reception room with a welcoming fireplace. Rear parlors could be combined through sliding doors.

Restoration work on Roosevelt House began in 2005 and was completed in 2010. The exterior of the six-story building, was cleaned and repaired. A wheelchair lift replaced the east service stairs to provide access to the building. Interior renovations were designed to essentially preserve the historically significant floor-plan of the first through fourth floors. A dramatic new auditorium was carved out of the lower levels of the building and will host lectures, conferences, and other programs. The former drawing and dining rooms on the first and second floors were completely opened up to one another and are multi-functional spaces for classes, meetings, presentations and receptions. The President’s library will serve as a museum and seminar space. Sara Roosevelt’s library is now a student study center. The upper floors have become offices for faculty and institute staff. The sixth floor has been converted into two apartments for special guests and visiting scholars of Hunter College.