Whoever designs this building, I have a strong feeling that it will look as good as ADA Rubirosa.
Whoever designs this building, I have a strong feeling that it will look as good as ADA Rubirosa.
Divided Landmarks Panel Splits Decision on Midtown Buildings
By Sewell Chan
The B. F. Goodrich Company building at 1780 Broadway, left, was declared a landmark.
A nearby building, at 225 West 57th Street, right, was not.
After hearing objections from a property developer that is trying to build a tall luxury hotel opposite Carnegie Hall, a divided Landmarks Preservation Commission voted on Tuesday to give landmark protection to the century-old B. F. Goodrich Building in Midtown Manhattan, while shelving a proposal to give the same protection to a nearby eight-story building.
The 6-to-3 vote by the commission represented an unusual instance of discord on the commission, which under the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has designated hundreds of new landmarks and created new historic districts but has still been accused of being too accommodating to developers and business interests.
The Extell Development Company had acquired both buildings, the 12-story Goodrich Building at 1780 Broadway, and the adjacent eight-story structure at 225 West 57th Street, as part of a broader plan to redevelop a parcel opposite Carnegie Hall, east of Broadway between 57th and 58th Streets, into a hotel and office building that Gary Barnett, the company’s president, called “a new building of world-class design — a landmark for the 21st century.”
One block to the east of the parcel, Extell — which unlike other developers is pushing ahead on projects despite the economic slowdown — is pouring the foundation for what is intended to be a hotel of at least 50 stories.
The commission had previously considered — but rejected — landmark status for the buildings in 1994. In testimony to the commission on Aug. 11, Mr. Barnett told the panel that the company did not believe either building merited landmark status but could accept a landmark designation for 1780 Broadway.
But any requirement that the facade of the West 57th Street building be preserved, Mr. Barnett said, would lead to an L-shaped floor plan and destroy the value of the air rights associated with the property. “It would kill the development of this site and cause tremendous hardship to Extell, including a potential loss of the site to foreclosure,” Mr. Barnett said.
Not all of the commissioners were convinced. Three — Roberta Brandes Gratz of Manhattan, Stephen F. Byrns of the Bronx, Pablo E. Vengoechea of Staten Island — opposed Extell’s proposal, which had gained the support of the commission’s chairman, Robert B. Tierney. The three favored giving landmark status to both buildings.
In 1870 in Akron, Ohio, Benjamin Franklin Goodrich founded the company that bore his name. The company, an automobile tire and rubber manufacturer, would become one of the world’s largest rubber producers.
The Goodrich Building was built in 1909 as a corporate headquarters, with a ground-floor tire showroom and repair shop. Designed by the Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, the building has a facade of red brick and limestone, with “abstract, stylized ornament suggesting the influence of Elizabethan and Jacobean sources, the Arts and Crafts movement, and the Vienna Secession,” the landmarks commission said. The company sold the building in 1928.
In the early 20th century, Broadway between 42nd and 72nd Streets was known as Automobile Row, a stretch that included the A. T. Demarest and Peerless Motor Car Company at 224-228 West 57th Street, and the United States Rubber Company at 1790 Broadway, both landmarks.
The Ferry House, built in 1871, is now the headquarters of
the Spanish Broadcasting System.
In other business on Monday, the commission voted to designate the E. Hayward and Amelia Parsons Ferry House, at 26 West 56th Street, as a landmark.
Built in 1871 by the architects D. & J. Jardine, and remodeled in 1907-8 by the architect Harry Allan Jacobs in a restrained Beaux-Arts style, the building was inhabited by Ferry, a prominent banker, until 1935. Then, from 1945, it was the headquarters of Albert & Charles Boni, a publishing house that was a pioneer in microform technology. The building is now used by the Spanish Broadcasting System and houses studios for WSKQ-FM, La Mega/Mega Clásicos and WPAT-FM.
“Faced with limestone, the building is distinguished by carefully balanced proportions, refined detailing and a copper mansard roof with dormers,” the commission said in a statement. “The building’s rusticated base is punctuated by a recessed segmental arch surround that features a carved lion’s head and garlands that surmount a pair of original iron and glass doors.”
Does anyone know when Morton Williams will close?
New York landmarks commission saves one Auto Row building, junks another
The corner of Broadway and West 57th Street, where the Shaw buildings flank
the masonry building at center. They are part of a future project by Extell Development.
Typically, preservationists would have been thrilled by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s last-minute designation of 1780 Broadway, a 12-story, early modern building designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw and built in 1909 for tire makerB.F. Goodrich. It is one of just two buildings designed by the prolific Chicago School architect in New York, and it became a city landmark yesterday despite the reservations of Extell Development, which owns the property and intends to make it part of a $1.5 billion mixed-use project.
1780 Broadway and 225 West 57th Street.
But the commission, by a vote of 6-3, also decided to cast aside Shaw’s other New York building, the adjoining 225 West 57th Street. Commission chair Robert Tierney said that among his reasons was the opposition of Extell and the city council, which wrote a strongly worded letter [PDF] in August that effectively threatened to overturn the commission’s designation if it went ahead with it. The result has left preservationists apoplectic.
“I’m appalled,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council. “I think this inserts a level of politics into a merit-based decision. It’s the job of the landmarks commission to appropriately weigh the merits of these buildings. If the city council wants to kill it, fine, but don’t do their dirty work.”
Christabel Gough, secretary for the Society for the Architecture of the City, was more forgiving of the commission, given the pressure placed on it. “It’s very unfortunate the council substitute its judgment while accommodating a major developer,” she said.
In debating which buildings to preserve, a majority of commissioners argued that 1870 Broadway was a sufficient memorial to B.F. Goodrich’s place along Automobile Row, a succession of midrise office and service buildings that predominated around the turn of the century along Broadway north of 42nd Street.
Preservationists in the audience snickered and groaned at the suggestion that no automotive buildings were built on side streets—there is even one such landmark across the street on 57th Street—but the commission seemed to buy the argument made in August by Extell’s preservation consultant, Higgins & Quasebarth, that because the eight-story building at 225 West 57th was built on spec and never occupied by the carmaker, it was unworthy of preservation.
“In my judgment, 225 West 57th Street did not play as prominent a role in Automobile Row,” Tierney said. “Therefore, it is less deserving of designation, especially in light of the other buildings already landmarked.”
But some commissioners argued that despite this history, 225 West 57th was actually the more significant of the two buildings, being one of the first in the city in which a truly modernist vocabulary began to emerge. “As a work of architecture, it is an extremely strong, extremely rare, and extremely precious example of early modernism,” commissioner Stephen Byrns said. “While it doesn’t share the history with Automobile Row, the details are of a kind rarely seen in New York.”
Among the features Brynes singled out was the building’s distinctive fenestration, abstracted columns, and the incorporation of automotive motifs, such as tire-tread bricks and wing nut sculptures. Meanwhile, he derided 1780 Broadway as impressive but a far more typical example of Chicago School and Vienna Succession architecture.
“1780 Broadway is typical of the era,” Bankoff said. “225 West 57th is not. Maybe if it had been built in the ‘20s, but it is very advanced for 1909.”
Commissioner Roberta Brandes Gratz argued that the two buildings, which are of the similar proportions and construction and connected by a freight elevator in the rear, are inseparable. “I find the 57th Street building more distinctive, and to separate the two would be like separating siblings,” she said. She added that is would be hard to appreciate the Broadway building without its neighbor.
After the vote, Raizy Haas, a senior vice president for development at Extell, said the firm had looked at preserving both buildings. They would be part of a T-shaped development stretching from 57th Street to 58th Street with a spur on Broadway occupied by the B.F. Goodrich Building. But because of differing floor heights in the two buildings and other issues, 225 West 57th could not be saved.
Plans have not been drawn up and a designer has yet to be announced, though Haas said Extell was “absolutely” considering someone on par with its recent collaborators, which include Christian de Portzamparc and SOM.
This building could easily exceed 1,000 feet.
That could be considered pedantic (probably by most), and possibly only appreciated by a small contingent of archi-freaks.
But when looking at the details of the two buildings, the later-built one on West 57th does play with motifs in a more interesting -- and even witty -- way.
I'd lay the claim that the 57th Street building, if it were to survive, would need the presence of the earlier 1780 Broadway building to be fully understood and appreciated from a design / architecture POV.
I hope that the face of the 57th building has been very well documented with photographs, showing the details of the design in close-up.
SOM designs some really nice buildings.
They design crap only when cheap people like Zuckerman commission them.
Extell invested a lot of money in this site and won't build a lame POS.
PS: Did you see that a NB application was filed for 220 CPS?
Extell commissioned SOM to build that boxy Diamond Exchange, didn't they?
That's a piece of crap.
That's a different story. That is a filler building on a shoddy street.
This will be a world-class tower in a world-class location that will attract buyers from around the world like 15 CPW and the Time Warner tower.
I don't support crap anywhere. However, I can understand why the economics of a project result in certain designs.
I wish that NY took a London perspective and that everything was a gem. Sadly, we're not London.
Last edited by londonlawyer; November 12th, 2009 at 01:27 PM.