The Decorated Tenement:

How Immigrant Builders and Architects Transformed the Slum in the Gilded Age.

Zachary J. Violette, Architectural Historian and Author.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020  AT THE GENERAL SOCIETY LIBRARY.

The lecture starts at 6:30 P.M.  –  Book Signing and Reception to follow.

Presented in Partnership with the Victorian Society New York

Zachary Violette will discuss his new book, The Decorated Tenement: How Immigrant Builders and Architects Transformed the Slum in the Gilded Age. The book explores the little-known but enormous impact that new arrivals from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe had on New York Victorian streetscapes. Freshly minted architects from overseas, on commission from their countrymen, brought elegance and a touch of whimsy to tightly packed housing. Dr. Violette will explore how he brought buried archival and architectural treasures to light. The Decorated Tenement will be available for purchase.  Please note this event is now sold out.

Utilizing specially commissioned contemporary photography, and many never-before-published historical images, Zachary Violette will focus on the “decorated tenement,” a wave of new buildings constructed by immigrant builders and architects who remade the slum landscapes of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and elsewhere in the late nineteenth century. Drawing on extensive research and fieldwork, Dr. Violette uses ornament as an entry point to reconsider the role of tenement architects and builders in improving housing for the working poor.

Zachary Violette has a PhD in American and New England Studies from Boston University. The Decorated Tenement is the winner of the 2019 Fred Kniffen Award from the International Society of Place, Landscape, and Material Culture. Dr. Violette is the recipient of the 2019 short-term H. Allan Brooks Traveling Fellowship for travel in Central Europe. He serves on the Board of the Vernacular Architecture Forum and is a lecturer at Parsons/The New School of Design in New York. He is currently researching a follow-up volume to The Decorated Tenement on the inner suburban apartment house in the early twentieth century.

20 WEST 44th Street (BETWEEN 5TH AND 6th AVENUES), New York City.

Advance registration is recommended.  Please click here to register

General Admission: $10;
General Society Members, Victorian Society New York Members, Senior Citizens & Students:$5.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.