Today a leading architectural and urban-design firm, Rothzeid Kaiserman Thomson & Bee grew out of the architectural firm of Bernard Rothzeid & Partners, established in 1963. Design integrity combined with the highest technical standards have always been hallmarks of RKT&B.
In the 1970s, RKT&B gained prominence for its award-winning planning and design strategies in converting existing buildings for contemporary uses. The adaptive reuse movement required a strong professional commitment to solving the special problems associated with transforming older structures. Many of RKT&B’s landmark buildings have been recognized through city, state, and national awards for superior design and innovation. In 1978, the firm received an AIA National Design Award for its widely praised rescue of Turtle Bay Towers, at the time the largest residential conversion in New York City.
Beginning with the adaptive reuse of existing structures, sustainable architecture has been a concern of the firm for over three decades. Today it is a basic principle of “green” architecture, and RKT&B is incorporating the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program into its current projects.
Adaptive reuse also led to historic preservation as an RKT&B specialty, with the notable rehabilitation and design of the Eagle Warehouse in Brooklyn, the design of the Swedish Consulate offices and residences on Park Avenue, and the recent transformation of The Towers at 455 Central Park West, a former cancer hospital, into luxury residences.
RKT&B is also prominent in new luxury and affordable housing construction, including River Rose/Park Rose at Battery Park City, the Memphis Downtown, Reade House, 108 Fifth Avenue, and Cathedral Gardens, among others.
In the 1980s, the firm played a critically acclaimed role in the restoration of the New York City Center and in the design of new performance spaces for the Manhattan Theater Club. Design work for the performing arts has grown to include the outstanding new live and film theater complex at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in New Jersey.
Health-facility planning and design comprises another major specialty of the firm. The roster of clients in this area includes the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Bird S. Coler Hospital, Bronx Lebanon Hospital, Columbia-Presbyterian Hospitals, the New York State Facilities Development Corporation, and New York-Methodist Hospital.
RKT&B is also deeply committed to creating and improving academic facilities for education, and has provided a variety of services to the New York City School Construction Authority, such as the expansion and renovation of the High School Redirection in Brooklyn and the conversion of five floors of a Manhattan office building to the School for the Physical City, incorporating student interest in the urban infrastructure into its curriculum.
The firm’s expertise has expanded to include transportation facilities with numerous projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including the design of a number of PATH stations, and collaboration on the new AirTrain Terminal at Jamaica Station, which links the Long Island Rail Road and NYC Subway System to JFK International Airport.