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Thread: 19 East Houston St - Perkins Eastman

  1. #1

    Default 19 East Houston St - Perkins Eastman

    The site is the triangular plot across the street from the BP gas station soon to be 300 Lafayette St.

    04.29.2014

    In Detail> 19 East Houston Street
    Perkins Eastman serves up a contemporary interpretation of Soho's cast iron facades.



    The new building mimics the scale of its neighbor and its Houston Street face is meant to appear as though it has been sliced away, revealing the section.
    Courtesy Perkins Eastman

    Up through the 1920s, Houston Street was a narrow little passageway through the lower Manhattan trenches, no bigger than Spring Street is today. It was not until the 1930s, as part of Robert Moses’ overhaul and modernization of New York City, that it took on its current form as a multi-lane thoroughfare. The transformation from urban lane to city highway involved the demolition of quite a few buildings, and resulted in a number of odd-shaped and sliver-like lots that would only appeal to a developer in the city’s current real estate reality. One such oddity is a triangular plot on the south curb of Houston bordered by Broadway and Crosby Street—a prominent location that for years has been home to a fruit stand, a subway entrance, and an MTA parking lot. The brick wall of the building bordering the lot has been used as a billboard for much of this time, home for an age to an iconic DKNY advertisement, and now branded with the logo of the Southern Californian clothing company Hollister and an artificially distressed rendition of the California state flag.




    The facade system’s depth and variation are inspired by Soho’s historic cast iron facades.


    This awkward patch of land is now being developed by New York City–based real estate investment and operating company Madison Capital. It will soon be home to a building comprising four floors of retail (one subterranean) and three floors of office space. With a 36-foot exposure on Crosby Street, a little over 200 feet on Houston, and nothing but a razor’s edge on Broadway, the building will offer about 5,000 square feet of leasable space per floor, considering vertical circulation needs and an MTA easement for the subway entrance. This relatively limited amount of space was not seen as an impediment to finding likely tenants. In the words of Perkins Eastman principal Navid Maqami, “The value of the property is not so much in the floor plans and square footage—it’s the location more than anything else. It’s about visibility and who would want to be there.”


    The building's glass facade will glow at night along Houston Street.


    Since the site sits at the edge of the Soho Cast Iron Historic District, the design of the building had to pass muster with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Perkins Eastman took a contextual/contemporary approach to this challenge. The structure’s massing and floor-to-floor heights match that of its immediate neighbor, keeping it on-scale with the area. The treatment of the Crosby facade is the most contextual. It is clad with a Danish grey brick that closely matches the material facing other buildings on that street (Denmark was apparently the closest place to source a natural brick of that particular color) and also features punched windows and even a cornice.






    Houston Street's evolution.


    The Houston facade, on the other hand, is a contemporary interpretation of the 19th-century cast iron facades that predominate in Soho. Here, the architectural notion is that a pre-existing building has been sliced by the widening of the street, leaving a sectional view of the structure. In addition to communicating this idea, Maqami and his design team played on the strong horizontal character of the historic district’s facades, their layering and depth, and their variation and elaboration from floor to floor. To emulate these features in a contemporary idiom, the team employed two layers of floor-to-ceiling glass—one set 18 inches inboard from the other—aluminum pilasters, and a frame of the Danish grey brick that carries over from the Crosby Street face. The outboard panels of glass are all 15 feet wide, while the inboard panels vary in width from 1 foot 6 inches to 7 feet 2 inches. The architects change up where these varying-width panels fall, thus modulating the expression up the elevation and creating a sense of movement along high-speed Houston Street.




    Before and after aerial views of the infill site.


    The building’s first three floors, which are all dedicated to retail, are faced with transparent glass panels. This changes in the top three office floors, on which the inboard glass panels are treated with an increasingly opaque ceramic frit pattern. On the fourth floor the inboard panels feature 33 percent frit, on the fifth floor they feature 66 percent frit, and on the sixth and top floor they feature 100 percent frit, thus providing a higher and higher degree of privacy as you go up the elevation.

    For those of you wondering what will be done with the thin-edge-of-the-wedge space at the corner of Broadway, it will be left empty, a soaring atrium from the second floor up, giving whatever retail tenant that takes the space a highly visible branding opportunity. Whatever piece of advertising fills this space, it will show through the glass facade to the bustling throng entering Soho from the Village—a preservation of the building-as-billboard condition that has ruled this site for the past few generations.

    Aaron Seward












    Copyright © 2003-2014 | The Architect's Newspaper, LLC
    http://www.archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=7279

  2. #2

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    Nice building . I always disliked that lot and the BP next door.

  3. #3
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    It belongs elsewhere (if anywhere).

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    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
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    ^ I agree. A lil green space would be better. What's happening with the BP site?

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    BP gas station soon to be 300 Lafayette St.

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    I'm not sure if I like this or not - deliberately accentuating that a building was sliced away. It echoes the obvious one block west.

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    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    I'm for anything that gets a street wall back on Houston.

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  9. #9
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    I'm not sure if I like this or not - deliberately accentuating that a building was sliced away. It echoes the obvious one block west.
    Imagine that new glass wall filled with illuminated signage and video screen advertising (as described in the article above). That might be appropriate in Times Square or near Penn Station / Herald Square, but it's totally out of character for this site and this neighborhood. And such "branding" would totally overwhelm the iconic sculpture The Wall (aka "The Gateway to SoHo").

    What is deemed appropriate here should have some relationship to the history of the site (this triangle is within the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District). There is a world of difference between painted wall signs and a gazillion pixels of LEDs lit up and flashing 24/7. That doesn't even touch on another key problem inherent in the developer's plan regarding aspects of the existing subway sub-structure, which consists of a mid-1930s fan plant and subway station ventilation system. And that's not the end of it. When you dig into the specifics of this plan it's like a text book of bad urban planning.

  10. #10

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    DNAinfo
    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/2014...-soho-building


    Developer Promises Not to Put Big-Box Store in Glassy SoHo Building

    By Danielle Tcholakian on October 15, 2014 12:41pm






    SOHO — A new Houston Street building that neighbors had feared would become a big-box store will now feature a smaller retail space instead, following a year of negotiations with the community, the developer said.
    Madison Capital had planned to put at least four stories of retail in its glassy new development at 19 E. Houston St., which would have required a special permit for stores bigger than 10,000 square feet.
    But after discussions with Community Board 2, SoHo residents, theManhattan Borough President's office and City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, Madison Capital agreed to limit retail to the cellar, ground floor and second floor, totaling less than 10,000 square feet, according to a letter the developer sent Chin recently.
    "It's certainly a victory and we very much appreciate it," said Tobi Bergman, chair of the Community Board 2 Land Use Committee. "The biggest concern was the massiveness...and the character of the retail. Neighbors are becoming increasingly concerned about the character of the retail [in SoHo]."
    Madison Capital also agreed to widen the sidewalk in front of the new office and retail building, near Broadway, based on residents' concerns about congestion on the block, according to Madison Capital director Jonathan Ratner's Sept. 29 letter to Chin.
    The Department of Transportation supports the plan to widen the sidewalk and will move an existing bus stop to make extra space, according to a letter DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione wrote over the summer.
    The concessions came ahead of next week's City Council vote on the project, which is expected to be approved.
    Ratner's letter also addressed the community's concern about the design of the six-story building, which neighbors had panned as "a glowing glass box."
    “We believe in being a good neighbor and responsible landlord,” Ratner wrote to Chin. “If a concern arises in the future related to illumination we will work [with] the Community Board, the Council Member, tenants and other stakeholders to try to resolve it.”
    Ratner and Madison Capital did not respond to requests for comment.
    Bergman said it's important to limit the size of stores in SoHo so that the neighborhood isn't taken over by chain stores.
    "It will be a big loss to SoHo if it loses its character and loses its flavor and becomes just an uninteresting retail mall," Bergman said. "Broadway is less and less interesting. Obviously it's very popular and very successful as a retail place, but long-term success in New York doesn’t just come from being a neighborhood for one use, it comes from being a 24-7 neighborhood, being a place you can’t find in other cities."


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