Press Release

For Immediate Release: June 25, 2024
Contact: lpcpressoffice@lpc.nyc.gov, 212-669-7938

LPC Designates 1 Wall Street Banking Room as an Interior Landmark

Known as the "Red Room," This Glittering, Elaborately Tiled Space Once Served as Irving Trust and Bank Company's Reception Room

Hall Features Mosaics by Master Muralist Hildreth Meière, Trailblazer for Women in the Fields of Architecture and Design

Newly Restored "Red Room" Will Reopen as Home to French Luxury Retailer Printemps in 1 Wall Street, an Individual Landmark and New York City's Largest Office-to-Residential Conversion

Red room with high ceilings and pillars, walls and ceiling covered with red mosaic tile with gold designs

New York – Today, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted unanimously to designate the 1 Wall Street Banking Room Interior, commonly known as the "Red Room," as an interior landmark. A stunning reception room and banking hall for the Irving Trust and Bank Company, this unique and elaborately tiled space was completed in 1931 and represents the work of two masters: architect Ralph Walker and muralist Hildreth Meière.

The "Red Room" is a glittering, sculptural jewel box, unlike any bank interior built in New York City before or since. After the 1929 collapse of the financial markets, it became critically important for the Irving Trust Company to project an image of permanence and intact wealth, and the Gilded Age opulence of 1 Wall Street's Banking Room was intended to deliver that message, serving as an impressive and inviting reception area for Irving Trust Company's clients.

The former banking room is visually striking, with walls that mimic the curved stone facades of 1 Wall Street, one of the earliest Art Deco skyscrapers in New York City and itself a designated individual landmark. The room's walls, ceiling, and columns sparkle with mosaic tile in warm colors that fade from red to orange across the ceiling, and gilded tiles create web-like designs that glitter on the red background and draw the eye up – an elaborate style that presents a dramatic departure from more typical classically-inspired stone banking halls of the era. 

"The 1 Wall Street Banking Room, one of the most beautiful interior spaces in New York, is now designated as a landmark within a major office-to-residential conversion project," said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. "With the designations of 1 Wall Street and the Banking Room, LPC emphasizes how our goals of preserving historic spaces and building housing are complementary."

"Designed by Ralph Walker, the Banking Room of 1 Wall Street has stunning mosaics created by Hildreth Meière, a master muralist who led the way for women in the decorative arts, and is one of New York City's architectural gems from the height of the Art Deco era," said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Sarah Carroll. "After a thoughtful restoration, the dazzling beauty of the "Red Room" will once again be open for the public to experience and enjoy, and today's vote to designate this special interior landmark ensures it will continue to delight visitors for years to come."

"We are thrilled to be part of the restoration and preservation of one of the most important Art-Deco murals in NYC," said Laura Lendrum, CEO of Printemps America. "The Red Room is a testament to the rich architectural and cultural heritage of New York City, and we are honored to bring it back to life for the public to enjoy. This project reflects our commitment to blending history with modernity, creating a unique and immersive retail experience that honors the past while looking toward the future. Hildreth Meière was a master muralist who was a trailblazer for women in the fields of architecture and design, and Printemps has proudly championed women for over 100 years, making this collaboration especially meaningful."

1 Wall Street's Banking Room opened in 1931, when tile mosaic and other forms of mural art were enjoying a resurgence of popularity. 1 Wall Street's architect, Ralph Walker, hired renowned artist, Hildreth Meière, to develop the stunning mosaic – the first of many collaborations between the artist and architect. Meière's murals also decorate the walls of the AT&T Long Distance Building, Saint Bartholomew's Church, Temple Emanu-El, and Radio City Music Hall, and her work would ultimately break many barriers for women in the field of architecture and design. Ralph Walker was a principal of the firm Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker, and one of New York's most noteworthy designers of Art Deco high-rise buildings. In addition to the AT&T Long Distance Building, Walker also designed Barclay-Vesey Building and the Western Union Building, at 60 Hudson Street – all individual landmarks.

In 1987-88, the Irving Trust Bank Corporation was acquired by The Bank of New York, New York City's oldest banking institution, and in 2014 the building was sold again, this time to Macklowe Development. In 2016, LPC approved work to enable the landmark building to undergo one of the largest office-to-residential conversion in New York City, creating 566 units of housing and ground-floor retail.

As part of that work, the "Red Room" is undergoing a full restoration, including using a newly discovered trove of surplus original tiles to restore the murals, and the space will soon re-open for retail use as the first New York City location of the French luxury retailer, Printemps. 

Images: Photographs of the 1 Wall Street Banking Room Interior are available online

About the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is the mayoral agency responsible for protecting and preserving New York City's architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings and sites. Since its creation in 1965, LPC has granted landmark status to more than more than 38,000 buildings and sites, including 1,464 individual landmarks, 123 interior landmarks, 12 scenic landmarks, and 158 historic districts and extensions in all five boroughs. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/landmarks and connect with us at www.facebook.com/NYCLandmarks and www.twitter.com/nyclandmarks.