When creating the gatehouse to the CetraRuddy-designed One Madison Park on 23rd Street, BKSK partners and architects Harry Kendall and Joan Krevlin begged the question, “How do you design something that is as much about being a gateway as it as about being a building unto itself?”
The task was to create a five-story building to house the entry lobby and two duplexes. The two firms worked as a team: BKSK was brought in by Related, who purchased the building after it was fully complete, with CetraRuddy acting as the architect of record and production architect for the residence.
Kendall and Krevlin ultimately imagined the entry structure as a giant front door. “22nd Street is a beautifully scaled block that has lovely stone and terra-cotta buildings. We wanted to do two things—design a building that actually felt as much like a gateway as a building, and we wanted to do something that was respectful of the nicely textured and well-scaled block.”
The team began to consider a contemporary material that would allow for such a combination and considered it a good opportunity to use terra-cotta because of its malleability. “We looked at the block and the body material of most of its buildings,” said Krevlin, the partner-in-charge on the project. “We were pulling out the more decorative elements and having that act as the whole facade.” Krevlin and Kendall wanted some shimmer and reflectivity to the material to catch the morning and Western light and knew that terra-cotta could be glazed to their specifications.
The custom fins, manufactured by Boston Valley Terra Cotta, are comprised of three pieces: The pointed piece is extruded and has a joint with two other flat elements. The fins are then hung on an aluminum substrate that cantilevers off the building and attaches to the slabs so that they float in front of the glass. The fins were intentionally staggered to give the building rhythm, and a custom bronze and glass storefront with sliding glass doors sits behind them.