Aryeh Siegel is a Beacon-based architect whose projects have included The Beacon theater, The Lofts at Beacon and The Roundhouse.
What drew you to architecture?
I was always interested in buildings. I started in college as a journalism major and didn’t see that as something I wanted to continue. I took time off after the first year and worked on technical drafting for a friend’s father, who is an architect. It clicked. I thought that architecture was a good combination of the practical, technical and artistic — a blend of things that I was interested in doing.
When did you move to Beacon?
It was 1999, from Brooklyn. My wife was pregnant, and it wasn’t going to work with three humans in that small apartment. I read an article about Cold Spring so we came up here and started talking to real-estate agents. One suggested Beacon. Right after Dia:Beacon opened in 2003, a lot of people started coming up and looking at buildings on Main Street and the industrial buildings along Fishkill Creek. I think there was only one other architect, so I kept myself busy with renovations.
What projects have you worked on?
Most are Main Street projects, residential remodeling projects or industrial-conversion projects along the creek. When the Tallix Foundry moved across the river, I worked on the artist live/work lofts there. Then there’s The Roundhouse, with the hotel and restaurant. I also worked on 1 East Main. There’s a couple of buildings on Creek Drive: One [23-28 Creek Drive] was new construction and the other [Creek Drive Lofts] was a renovation. I’m working on a new construction at 536 Main St., on a lot that’s been vacant for years.
Are there any features with Beacon’s historic buildings that are unusual?
A lot of Main Street buildings are Victorian with a significant cornice at the top and vertical window openings on the storefront. There’s an arched window detail that a lot of people used, often a cap on vertically oriented windows and a minor cornice over a storefront. For the industrial buildings along the creek, they have similar details, less dressed up and repetitive. The Howland Center — that’s a special one. They’ve managed to raise money to keep it up. The Roundhouse is interesting because it uses buildings on both sides of the creek and integrates it into a campus.
Do you prefer restoration or new construction?
New construction is a bit easier because you’re not trying to weave something that’s there with another use. But the puzzle of doing adaptive-reuse projects is also interesting; it’s a different way to think about a building. It’s more about, as much as possible, using what’s there.
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