It easy to forget that when we look at a Manhattan pre-war apartment buildings, they lie to us. The majority of a historic building, including both decorative and mechanical elements, has been restored. Buildings need upkeep, and when the times comes for renovation, design choices become a question of both aesthetics and practicality. Under world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, this question is answered with his design to replace a 19th-century townhouse on 64th and Lexington with an extremely modernist facade as part of a conversion of the building to office and residential use. The Manhattan brownstone apartments are a historic record--and as residents and citizens, we are active participants in its composition. Given the choice, can and should we “modernize” the pre-war townhouse?