Today the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) blasted David Chipperfield’s proposed residential building in the West Village and sent the design back to the drawing board for serious modifications.

Developer Edward Minskoff plans to demolish a two-story garage to build a condominium designed by Chipperfield with New York–based Higgins Quasebarth & Partners as local partners.

Chipperfield’s glass and precast concrete condo would rise five stories with an additional penthouse level set back from the lower floors. In June YIMBY calculated that the 30,676-square-foot building would have seven apartments measuring in at over 4,382 square feet. 327 square feet of commercial space for an underground parking garage would round out the program. Today he defended the (pretty much unchanged) design, noting its “quality” and harmony with neighboring buildings.

The LPC wasn’t buying it, however. Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called out the building’s height, while other commissioners were just not kosher with demolishing the garage, which dates from 1922.

In the presentation materials submitted for today’s meeting, diagrams from Chipperfield show the structure’s elevation compared to buildings on adjacent blocks. The diagrams show buildings of various height, including many that surpass the three- and four-story height that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) pegs for the neighborhood’s midblocks.

North elevation with proposed structure clocking in at around 61 feet tall. (Courtesy LPC)

North elevation with proposed structure clocking in at around 61 feet tall. (Courtesy LPC)

The site lies within the Greenwich Village Historic District, so both the demolition and new construction requires approval. The commission last heard the proposal in June, when a decision was tabled in response to 40 pieces of public testimony, all in opposition to the design. Residents called it a “travesty” that would block sun and air. Andrew Berman, the GVSHP‘s executive director unleashed a torrent of objections, arguing that the height was out-of-scale with three- and four-story midblock buildings, and that the facade more closely resembled cast-iron faces of Noho and Soho buildings, not Greenwich Village. Perhaps most damning was Berman’s assessment of the structure’s place in the urban fabric:

“[We] must note the devastating cumulative effect which the loss of buildings like 11 Jane Street has on the scale and quality of the Greenwich Village Historic District. Such buildings have simple but handsome early 20th century detail and contribute to the sense of place and variegated scale of the Village. Their modest one and two story stature defers to the historic residential and commercial structures around them, allowing them to remain in the foreground. They are part of the quirk, charm, and surprise that one encounters on Village streets; each a little different from the next, but sharing common overall qualities.”




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