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Thread: Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine - by Heins & Lafarge / Ralph Adams Cram

  1. #46
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc
    Anyway, this shows promise of being a crappy building.
    Yes, in an effort to blend in and be respectful it'll end up doing just the opposite and everyone loses.
    Sometimes if they're not worrying about trying to be contextual, it might end up being more contextual. Irony.

  2. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby
    Yes, in an effort to blend in and be respectful it'll end up doing just the opposite and everyone loses.
    Sometimes if they're not worrying about trying to be contextual, it might end up being more contextual. Irony.
    This is a common phenomenon. Perceptive of you to have called attention to it.

  3. #48

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    She should have said "blocked from the downhill side." That's more serious than being overshadowed. Think about Chartres blocked from the downhill side.

    Anyway, this shows promise of being a crappy building.
    Eh, the cathedral is not very majestic from this corner or block. In fact, I don't even think you can see it standing down there beneath the rock ledge. The best view, undoubtedly, is from below the cliff in Morningside Park, which will remain undisturbed.

    And yes, Avalon is a craptacular developer. It will be a diamond in the rough for them if it's not neocolonial trash worthy of a Central Massachusetts exurb.

  4. #49

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    The intersection where the new development would rise:


  5. #50
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    Development at St. John's Breaks Ground

    Committee Collects 1,300 Signatures From Residents to Oppose Apartment Complex


    By Anna Phillips
    Issue date: 2/9/07

    At a ceremonial ground breaking held today at the site of the future Avalon Morningside Park development, developers, elected officials, and congregation members of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine gathered to announce the beginning of construction.

    The event, however, was something of a false start, as construction on the housing development will likely not begin until mid-March, according to Avalon Bay Companies Development Director for the project, Rachel Lobe.

    Avalon Bay Companies, a New York real estate developer, purchased land from St. John the Divine and has been discussing plans to build an apartment building for over a year. Although the physical plans have changed little, the company has decided to set aside 20 percent of the housing units for affordable housing.

    "It was a response to both the comments we heard from the local community and the elected officials," Lobe said.

    The project plans have drawn criticism from community preservationists and cathedral members, since much of St. John the Divine's 11.3 acre property is land marked for historic preservation. Despite several attempts by the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee to repeal the Landmark Preservation Commission's decision, the land Avalon Bay Companies now owns was excluded from landmark status.

    Carolyn Kent, chair of Community Board 9's Parks and Landmarks Committee, and other members of the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee gathered 1,300 signatures from local residents on a petition opposing the development.

    "We will continue to work against the construction of such an inappropriate building. It's inappropriate both in its purpose, which is profit taking luxury housing, and in its architectural design, which will dwarf the scale and finesse and Gothic design of the cathedral's ancillary buildings," Kent said.

    Scheduled to be completed in January, 2009, the Avalon Morningside Park development will be 20 stories high with 299 apartments and will cost roughly $126 million to build. According to Lobe, early construction will mostly involve rock removal to clear space for the foundation.

    Copyright 2006 Columbia Spectator

  6. #51

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    For more on the groundbreaking ceremony, from GlobeSt.com


    NEW YORK CITY-AvalonBay Communities Inc. will break ground today on a $126-million, 296-unit apartment complex on the city’s upper West Side. Avalon Morningside Park, as the project is dubbed, will be the company’s fourth development project in Manhattan.
    Located on 110th Street, on the southeast corner of the three block parcel owned by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the building will rise 20 stories in height and total 243,000 sf of rentable space, Fred Harris, SVP of development for AvalonBay tells GlobeSt.com. The company signed a 99-year ground lease in September 2006 with the cathedral to develop on the site.

    According to Harris, when the Cathedral when up for landmark status a couple years ago, two sites were deliberately left out of consideration with the hopes that they could one day be developed. One of those sites will become this apartment complex, Harris says.


    The plot of land is actually an infill site, which housed dirt removed when building portions of St. John the Divine and hid the unsightly elevated train that used to run through that part of town. “It is still sort of a blank wall,” Harris says, adding that the new building will lighten the corner significantly and improve the area.

    Construction will begin in a couple weeks after some remaining pre-construction work is finished, Harris says. The property is expected to see its first residents in the summer of 2008 and be complete by January 2009.
    There will be one-, two- and three-bedroom units, ranging in size from 500 sf to 1,350 sf, Harris says. Of the 296 units, 20% of them will be affordable. The property will also include a public plaza, parking, bike storage, lounge and community room.
    The area around St. John the Divine is mostly residential. But Harris says there have been very few new units brought to the market in the last couple years.

  7. #52
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    Ground is broken for rental apartments on cathedral grounds



    09-FEB-07

    Ground was broken yesterday for a 20-story, 296-unit rental apartment building on the northwest corner of Morningside Drive and Cathedral Parkway by AvalonBay Communities Inc.

    AvalonBay Communities, which has its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, has three other developments in Manhattan including large projects on the Bowery and East Houston Street. It has an ownership interest in more than 165 apartment communities with about 48,000 apartments in 10 states and Washington, D.C.

    The developer signed a 99-year lease with the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine last September for an "underutilized perimeter parcel of the cathedral's Close.

    R. M. Kliment + Frances Halsband Architects, best known in the city for the very attractive entrance to the Long Island Rail Road on West 34th Street, is the architect for the development, which will have a two-story glass entrance opening onto Cathedral Parkway with landscaping by Rader + Crews.

    Construction is anticipated to be completed within 24 months.

    The cathedral required that the project's design and materials be of high quality and that no buildings on the grounds would be demolished or altered.

    "This is a momentous day in the long history of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, the largest Gothic Cathedral in the wolrd, built to be a cathedral for all people," declared the Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, Dean of the Cathedral. "We initiated this effort over seven years ago as part of a strategy to preserve the buildings and gardens on the grounds as well as the religious, educational, cultural, social and civic programs that the Cathedral supports," he said.

    The New York City Housing Development Corp[oration financed the construction by issuing $100 million in tax-exempt bonds through its 80/20 program, which will insure that 20 percent of the apartments will be affordable to households earning up to 50 percent of the area's median income.

    The Cathedral announced that it will establish a Housing Mission Fund in an agreement with AvalonBay and that the Cathedral's fund will contribute $200,000 annually for thirty years to the 59 affordable apartments in the development.

    AvalonBay has selected The Phipps Houses Group to oversee the development's affordable housing program.

    Shaun Donovan, commissioner of the city's Department of Housing, Preservation and Development, said that "this past December Mayor Bloomberg signed legislation reforming the 421-a program to provide incentives to construct more affordable housing on-site while maintaining the incredible housing boom New York City is experiencing."

    According to Fred Harris, senior vice president of development for AvalonBay, two sites on the cathedral's grounds were not included when it was being considered for landmark designation a couple of years ago and this is one of those sites. The building will have a garage, bicycle storage and a community room and apartments will range in size from about 500 to 1,350 square feet.

    Copyright © 1994-2007 CITY REALTY.COM INC.

  8. #53
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    A larger rendering from the HDC site.


  9. #54

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    Do they plan to show the top of it?

  10. #55

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    They figured why bother? Nothing surprising going to happen up there. Double the height of what you see add a flat top (well I guess that's not really adding anything).

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    I wish they would execute Calatrava's brilliant design for the completion. What a genious.
    A link to these was posted earlier in the thread, but here are the images for
    lazy clickers.












    like a bit of Barcelona here in NYC. If I had the millions laying around I'd fund it myself.

  12. #57

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    The Calatrava proposal would've horribly mutated St. John's, sometimes good enough is enough, the Calatrava addition creates a scene that looks almost post-apocalyptic.

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    I respectfully disagree, Stern. I really think it's glorious, not post-apocolyptic at all. Perhaps the black/white presentation is contributing to your impression? I find it very uplifting, in the graceful and symmetric upswooping movement. Great glass and steel ceiling. Oh well, it's all subjective.

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The Calatrava plan is fantastic. And seems buildable in a way that would never be possible if one were to go forward with the original plans / original materials.

  15. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    The Calatrava plan is fantastic. And seems buildable in a way that would never be possible if one were to go forward with the original plans / original materials.
    Substitute "barely" for "never" and you're spot-on.

    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post
    I respectfully disagree, Stern. I really think it's glorious, not post-apocolyptic at all.
    I think you're both right. Glorious and post-apocalyptic.

    As perhaps it should be, for so is the Book of Revelation, to which the Cathedral is dedicated and which describes the Apocalypse and its aftermath. Its author: St. John the Divine.


    (John's vision came on the isle of Patmos. Did you visit Patmos when in Greece, MidtownGuy?)

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