Search results for " Higgins Quasebarth & Partners"

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Heavenly Photography

Swedish photo museum plans its first New York City outpost
The Church Missions House, a historic, Renaissance revival building located at 281 Park Avenue South in New York City, will soon be the new home of Fotografiska. The Stockholm-based photography museum is scheduled to open an outpost in New York in spring 2019. The organization has chosen New York–based CetraRuddy to lead the design makeover and restoration of the landmarked space. Other collaborators on the project include Roman and Williams, which will design an avant-garde restaurant and bar on the second floor, Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, which will preserve and restore the stained-glass windows and limestone and granite facade of the building, and Linq, a tech firm that will design a multi-sensory experience for visitors using flavor, scent, and art. Fotografiska, which views sustainability as a core part of its philosophy, strives to use the power of photography to leave a significant impact on the world. “By following our vision of inspiring a more conscious world, we aim to raise the level of awareness and question what we eat, drink, and take for granted—nudging society towards more sustainable habits,” states Fotografiska on its website. The six-story Church Missions House building will further enhance the cultural significance of Fotografiska and the surrounding Gramercy neighborhood. Built toward the end of the 19th century, the extravagant facade embodies an era in which New York City became a center for art, architecture, and creativity, and it has housed numerous offices and non-profit organizations in the years since. The building is also recognized for its role in the Anna Delvey story, where in 2017, the New York City socialite was arrested on six charges of grand larceny for trying to swindle her way into owning the building by scamming wealthy business acquaintances and hotels. The building’s Italianate style is evident in its arched windows, elegant columns, and decorative enrichments—including elaborate cornices and balustrades. Although the building is located in the midst of lofty skyscrapers and bustling city blocks, it conjures images of the elegant Italian villas of the Renaissance, while at the same time providing the city with valuable restaurant, gallery, and exhibition space. As swaths of Midtown Manhattan continue to disintegrate beneath the rapidly expanding, corporate-run metropolis, the landmark building at 281 Park Avenue is becoming more prominent than ever before. “We have been looking for the right New York location for a while, and the Park Avenue South space is a great opportunity for us to finally start to change the world in the spirit of Fotografiska,” said Geoffrey Newman, project manager and shareholder of Fotografiska New York, in a recent press release.
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The Most Ambitious Crossover Event in History

Marvel Architects converts a 200-year-old school into upscale condos
This Federalist-style four-story building across the street from the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral was the church’s former school and convent for nearly 200 years. Built in 1826 to replace an orphanage and parochial school founded in 1822, Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral School educated generations of locals and immigrants (including Martin Scorsese; according to a New York Times article he “struggled under the merciless ministrations of the Sisters of Mercy”) before closing in 2010. In 2014, the archdiocese sold it to Hamlin Ventures and Time Equities, who hired Marvel Architects to design the Residences at Prince, a seven-unit condo attached to a 6,100-square-foot space still retained by the church for its offices and community space. Because the structure is a landmark, the exterior elements—namely the windows—were restored. “Integrating glass into [the] historic facade, we supported the architect to update the aesthetic,” said Spencer Culhane, building envelope specialist at Schüco. Preservation consultant Higgins Quasebarth & Partners and Marvel completed the restoration using two styles of windows since the building was built in two different time periods. “The new wood window sashes are shop painted with a durable finish to provide a long-term protected finish,” said Nebil Gokcebay, associate at Marvel. In the interior courtyard, new expanses of glaze and thermally broken windows were installed. Having undergone numerous revisions, the south-facing 200-year old facade is patched up by bricks that fill up what were previously windows. This playful window arrangement (lower level windows occupied by the church are opaque) inspired the new north facade. A similar asymmetrical composition was made with Schüco’s AWS windows throughout. “Between the design starting point and in contrast to the historic double-hung windows in a pre-Civil War wall, we developed an all-glass vocabulary,” said Jonathan J. Marvel, principal at Marvel. Architect: Marvel Architects Location: New York City Codevelopers: Hamlin Ventures and Time Equities Contractor and Fabricator: TRU Architectural Historic Preservation Consultant: Higgins Quasebarth & Partners Facade Windows: Kolbe Windows & Doors Courtyard Glazing System: Guardian Glass Courtyard Glass and Window Systems: Schüco
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Round Two

Revised designs revealed for the modernist plaza at SOM’s 140 Broadway
After hearing—loudly—from critics and community members, the team behind 140 Broadway's plaza revamp has revised its design for the outdoor spaces surrounding the former Marine Midland Building, SOM's landmarked 1968 corporate modernist masterpiece. Landscape architects at New York's NV5, in collaboration with preservation consultants at Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, have submitted a revised design for the modernist plaza at 140 Broadway to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for a hearing next week. Most notably, the new design eliminates a 14-foot-wide planter at Broadway and Cedar Street that would have sat kitty-corner from the plaza's signature sculpture, Isamu Noguchi's Red Cube. Aside from the absence of the large corner planter, the plaza design is relatively unchanged from the one revealed in January. Like the previous scheme, the new plans call for six, 14-foot-wide circular planters that double as benches along Cedar Street. Meanwhile, the Helmsley Memorial, a blocky black-granite tribute to the late owner, will be re-dedicated as a marker flush with the pavement, and the design team will add metal bollards along Cedar. To further harmonize the space, the design team is replacing pinkish granite pavers installed in 1999 with a light golden-hued granite that resembles the original travertine plaza. When the plaza plans were revealed in January, critics panned the design, saying it would distract from the Noguchi sculpture, which was installed to complement the plaza and its 57-story tower. Originally, the LPC was scheduled to hear the plaza plans in early February, but public debate over the appropriateness of the renovation prompted the designers and owner to withdraw the item from the LPC's calendar. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) obtained an advance copy of the plans that were submitted to the LPC. All the renderings and drawings pictured here are from that document. Jackson Wandres, director of landscape architecture at NV5, and Erin Rulli, partner at Higgins Quasebarth, said that their overall goal is to add more seating and re-establish the east-west viewshed that extends from Zuccotti Park across the 140 Broadway plaza and over to SOM's 28 Liberty (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza), a modernist skyscraper of the same vintage. The 140 Broadway plaza "is the knuckle in a series of open spaces," Wandres said. "It makes the space feel much larger." A web of fine-toothed zoning designations divides these three seemingly unified areas and complicates the design intervention, however. The park and the two office tower plazas are POPS, spaces that are privately owned and maintained but free for the public to use. At 140 Broadway, the plaza continues out from the building to the edge of the roadway uninterrupted, even though the property line actually ends about 20 feet before the street; the food carts with LED marquees that sling chicken-over-rice and green juice to hungry passerbys sit on the public right-of-way. By obstructing the historical plaza-to-plaza vista, "the carts have caused a dramatic shift in how you experience the space," Rulli said. "It's not the intention to deprive anyone of their livelihoods, but rather, it's a design move for the benefit of the plaza," Wandres added. The pair clarified that any changes to the public area is under the Department of Transportation's (DOT) jurisdiction, not owner Union Investment's. Consequently, the proposed food cart–replacing benches and planters in the right-of-way are being reviewed by the DOT, not the LPC.
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Two Strikes

David Chipperfield’s West Village condo totally misses the mark, says LPC

This week David Chipperfield went back to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for a second time, hoping to get approval for his heavily revised design for a West Village condo.

The architects first went before the LPC in July with a white precast concrete residence at 11 Jane Street. This time they were hoping to get the commission’s blessings—but no such luck.

The new design swaps concrete for red brick, and knocks ten feet off the total height to better align with the block's townhouses. The residence, presented in collaboration with Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, would replace a one-story parking garage.

In an email to supporters last week, preservation advocacy group the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) said the design is not appropriate for the street or in keeping with the overall ethos of the Greenwich Village Historic District.

"[Unfortunately] the new design is not much better than the old one (and may even be worse in some respects)," the email said. "While the new design is slightly shorter and uses a more appropriate brick material, instead of looking like a corporate office building it now looks like a corporate chain motel."

The commission mostly agreed. Though it said the current design "plays better with the neighbors,” commissioners took issue with the sliding windows and door, especially the narrower vertical glass doors to a row of second-floor terraces. To many that spoke, the entrances that flank the sides of the building, closed off from the sidewalk by a low metal gate, lacked the egress signifier that a stoop, for example, would provide.

“I just don’t think this very capable architect has reached the mark," said Commissioner Michael Devonshire. “Articulation in the district is extremely rich and this building lacks it."

Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan echoed Devonshire and added that the LPC must “work within the concept and not send it in another direction."

The LPC took no action and will review a revised design at a later date. Third time’s the charm, right?

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The Knick(erbocker)

See the top-to-bottom restoration of this nineteenth century Soho loft building
Post–World War II deindustrialization may have cleared out Soho's manufacturing tenants, but despite a thoroughly-documented influx of artists, many buildings still fell into disrepair. This past summer, a trio of New York firms took on the monumental task of top-to-bottom renovating one structure on a prime corner top-to-bottom. The seven-story, Renaissance Revival–style Knickerbocker Telephone Co., designed and built in 1894 by architect John T. Williams, is within the bounds of the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District Extension, a surviving slice of a once-bustling commercial district that hosted textile producers and dry goods warehouses. On the outside, New York–based Scott Henson Architect recast the cast-iron decorative elements on the facade, installed historically accurate wood window frames, and added new steps to the entryway, while also New York–based Stephen B. Jacobs Group Architects recreated the storefront bays in their original arrangement. Deterioration prompted the architects to streamline the ornate structure slightly: To match the rusticated facade, brownstone sills and lintels were cut back and replaced. The top floor of the north side of the Lafayette Street facade was completely reconstructed with an arched brick, original window replica. The architects collaborated with preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners on the detailing, and the firm's paint analysis prompted the designers to coat the windows, cast iron detailing, and sheet metal cornice in a historically accurate dark yellow color. While preservation law dictates that the exterior be done in a historic style, the design team, led by Stephen B. Jacobs Group, gave the 105,000-square-foot interior a contemporary upgrade. Clothing retailer J.C. Penney shares "loft-like" space with Pirch, the appliance distributor. Cast-iron columns and timber beams frame "loft-like" spaces with glassed-in offices with polished concrete floors, while a first-floor skylight floods the ground-floor appliance showroom with light. Eight Inc. collaborated on the interior design.
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Gilder Center

Studio Gang’s AMNH expansion gets the green light from Landmarks Preservation Commission
Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously approved plans for a major expansion to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. In almost 90 pages of presentation materials, representatives from Studio Gang, preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, and landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand demonstrated to the commission and the public how they would demolish three museum buildings constructed between 1874 and 1935 to make way for the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. In a radical but elegant departure from AMNH's mélange of Victorian gothic, Beaux Arts, Richardson Romanesque, and contemporary buildings, the 195,000-square-foot Gilder Center, inside and out, takes formal cues from geological strata, glacier-gouged caves, curving canyons, and blocks of glacial ice. "Sleekness was never a goal—we wanted a richness of texture," explained Studio Gang design principal Wes Walker, in a pre-meeting model walkthrough with The Architect's Newspaper (AN). The pink Milford granite the designers intend to use for the facade is the same stone used for Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, the museum's main entrance on Central Park West. The Gilder Center granite will be sliced into two- and three-inch-thick bricks and arranged in diagonal bands on the facade to create the attractive variation that's produced by ornament on the neighboring 19th-century buildings. Bill Higgins (of Higgins Quasebarth) and Jeanne Gang detailed how the unconventional form will fit in with—and enhance—those buildings: The original, aggressively rectilinear master plan calls for architectural focal points on each of the museum's main facades. The angular forms are complemented by a playful, curvilinear landscape—plans show undulating paths that flank the imposing buildings. The rectangle/curve relationship remains at the Teddy Roosevelt entrance, and the Gilder Center, directly across the complex, extends and amplifies historic precedent—"[it's] an insertion into the historic fabric," said Gang. For AMNH, the new building is both an addition and connective tissue that bridges disparate programs. Museum president Ellen Futter explained that her institution needs to expand to accommodate five million annual visitors: Though its classroom and exhibition space will augment the museum's offerings, the Gilder Center is also a switchboard, connecting ten buildings at 30 different points. Inside and out, transparency and accessibility define the design. Vertical glazing on the facade lets visitors see deep into the structure, like looking into a fjord. Where the museums of past centuries defined their monumentality with great granite steps, the Gilder Center's no-step entrance allows for seamless access for people with mobility impairments or strollers. The addition will also open up sightlines to Building One, AMNH's first structure, via a passageway and additional gallery space. Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer, councilperson Helen Rosenthal's office, AIA New York, the Van Alen Institute, and the Columbus Avenue BID spoke in support of the addition, but preservation and neighborhood parks groups were not as bullish on the project. The Historic Districts Council (HDC), while offering that the Gilder Center "defers sensitively" to existing buildings, questioned the facade detailing and expressed concern about the building's exposed interior. The structural concrete columns that define the main space, HDC claims, are not clad in the same quality material as the facade. The group suggested Studio Gang refine the design further. Residents and members of park preservation groups spoke out against the Gilder Center because it encroaches on Theodore Roosevelt Park, and its construction requires the removal of seven mature trees. In response, Reed Hildebrand divided the layout into slow and fast programs—slow, or passive recreational activity will be directed away from the Gilder Center entrance, a meandering paved walkway shaded by (new) trees and curving flower beds. 80 percent of the addition will occupy the museum's existing footprint, and less than two percent of the 10-acre park will be sacrificed to AMNH. Noting the designers' willingness to adjust their designs in response to community concerns, the commissioners offered additional suggestions. Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said that the cultural aspect of the museum was often absent from the conversation around the design, while other members suggested that the architects reconsider the stucco planned for a northern exterior wall. Commissioner Frederick Bland, an architect, noted that the essence of AMNH is its "excellent" architecture that has accrued on the site over time. He praised the design team's vision and level of detailing, adding that at this stage it can be dangerous to intrude on the details of another architects' design vocabulary. "Very seldom do you see a design this soaring and open," said commissioner Wellington Chen. "It's a stunning piece of architecture—the commission can be proud in approving the project," said Srinivasan. After hours of tension, a palpable wave of relief emanated from the assembled architects. After the LPC's vote, a smiling Jeanne Gang told AN that her team had to move the modeling and detailing much farther along than usual for this round of approvals. "We had to make the parametric model way ahead to figure out the coursing and interfaces with the masonry," she said. Next, the Gilder Center moves onto design development and through the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process towards an expected groundbreaking next year.
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BKSK Architects + Morris Adjmi

Two modern developments in Manhattan’s Noho neighborhood given the green light by the LPC
A ten-story office complex on 363 Lafayette Street in Manhattan's Noho neighborhood has been awarded approval by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Designed by local firm Morris Adjmi Architects, the scheme had previously been rejected. Another project, a multi-family residency just round the corner on 22 Bond Street by fellow New York practice BKSK Architects, was also given the go-ahead. Initially, Adjmi's design had employed double-height windows as part of a slightly angled and staggered facade that included a dash of greenery along its incremental edges. This design was rejected by the LPC in July earlier this year, but Adjmi's subsequent alterations did the trick this time around. The modifications included making sure the street corner doesn't feature the staggered angular fall-back—except for a major recession on the eighth floor)—which was a previous gripe of the LPC in July. These subtle angular increments now occur southwards down Lafayette Street and, unlike before, are in accordance with each level change. Furthermore, new glazing has been placed on the south-side of the building while additional window detailing features around every exposed facade. According to New York Yimby, in response to the latest iteration, Commissioner Michael Devonshire described the design as “beautiful.” Preservation consultant Elise Quasebarth from New York firm Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, who specialize in the preservation and rehabilitation of historic properties, commented that the architects had “strengthened [the] corner, using it as a pivot” to create “dynamic slicing” and “more graceful proportions." While commissioner Frederick Bland said it was a “terrible thing for a committee to nit pick [an architect’s work] to pieces,” he and the rest of the commissioners were happy with the design voting unanimously for its approval. Also vying for approval was New York studio BKSK for their multi-family dwelling lot on 22 Bond Street, a stone's throw away from Morris Adjmi's project. The design features minor changes to the front facade as well as a "braille sidewalk" that features cast-iron vault lights which illuminate the entrance area at night. A third project at 413-435 West 14th Street was also due for hearing but was laid over at the committee meeting. All three projects can be viewed in detail here, here and here (in order of appearance in this article).
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Preservation FTW

LPC blasts David Chipperfield’s fancy West Village condo, sends it back to the drawing board
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. 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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Outdoor Space is the Place

75 Rockefeller Plaza to get dose of green courtesy KPF
With the Landmarks Preservation Commission's (LPC) blessing, a building near Rockefeller Center is set to get green. On Tuesday, the LPC approved a verdant rooftop terrace addition to 75 Rockefeller Plaza, an early modernist building designed by Robert Carson and Earl Lundin in 1941 that sits on the north end of the plaza, between West 51st and West 52nd streets. Completed six years later, the 424-foot, 33-story building was originally part of Rockefeller Center, and was declared an individual landmark in 1985 when Rockefeller Center received its designation. New York–based Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF) and preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners are revamping an extension on the tenth floor. The move gives the building more interior space as well as outdoor areas on the ninth floor roof. The proposal also includes an extension of the 11th floor that would create a terrace on the floor above. The designs reflect the commission's goal of keeping the terrace and garden from marring the historic viewshed. In the proposal, the architects emphasized the discreet qualities of their design from street level: The only new addition to the visible landscape is a new, laminated glass guardrail that encircles the terraces' perimeters. The commission approved this plan and Herzog & de Meuron's Upper East Side megamansion for a Russian billionaire with an entrancing backyard in the same session. Although 75 Rockefeller Plaza is a private office building, workers in nearby towers will be able to get a dose of greenery-by-proxy from their cubicle windows.
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A-Ford-Able

Upgrades to Ford Foundation Building are approved

On April 19, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved the $190 million renovation to the Ford Foundation Building at 320 East 43rd Street. The building, designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates with its iconic atrium by designer Dan Kiley, has been largely untouched since it was completed in 1967. In 1997, the LPC designated the exterior, atrium glass walls, and garden of the foundation headquarters as official landmarks. The new upgrades are mostly focused on bringing the building up to code and will be conducted by Gensler with Bill Higgins of Higgins Quasebarth & Partners as consultants, while Raymond Jungles Studio will handle the plantings.

This undertaking will include doubling conference space and dedicating two floors to other nonprofit organizations, creating a new visitors center, art gallery, and public event spaces, and reducing Ford’s own office area by one-third.

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, said, “This means more accessibility for people with disabilities; [and a place that is] more open to visitors and the public, including a visitors center and art gallery; more open to our colleagues and sister institutions through expanded meeting facilities; and a more open working environment for our own staff to encourage collaboration and reduce hierarchy.”

However, at the presentation in April, commissioners and Historic District Council (HDC) director of advocacy and community outreach Kelly Carroll had reservations. Carroll pointed out that many of the buildings the HDC reviews have little evidence of their former glory, while the Ford Foundation still retains its original brass doors, planters, modernist tile pavers, and signature indoor-outdoor flow—a rare gift. “An approval [to remove features] today can easily be a regret a generation from now,” she said. In particular, she voiced concerns over removing planters—which are currently ADA compliant—and suggested that the team look into automating the bronze doors rather than tossing them.

Others, such as Tara Kelly of the Municipal Art Society, expressed similar concerns and suggested more greenery on the facade and entrance on 42nd Street. In the end, commissioners voted to approve changes. The renovation is expected to be complete by 2019.

Morris Adjmi Architects



Framed drawings of Aldo Rossi’s Modena Cemetery line the hallway at Morris Adjmi Architects in New York’s financial district. “Working with him was the most important experience I had in my architectural education,” Adjmi told me. After ten years in Rossi’s office, he founded his own practice in 1997 and has since become known for contextual but contemporary buildings—often built in historic districts. It seems he learned his lessons well.

In L’architettura della città (The Architecture of the City), Rossi advocates for an architecture that shapes, and is shaped by, the collective memory of a city. “Aldo’s work was very specific to his experience,” Adjmi said. “It was important for me to take his attitudes and his approaches and reformulate them into something that was relevant for me and the place and the time I was practicing.” For the most part, the place is New York, and the time is a moment when the city is being terraformed with anonymous glass high-rises. The buildings designed by Morris Adjmi Architects offer a refreshing alternative. In scale, composition, and materiality, they just feel like New York. Buildings like 372 Lafayette bridge the present and the past without reverting to historicism or relying on nostalgia, even when they incorporate architectural artifacts, as with the Wythe Hotel, the High Line Building, and the Sterling Mason residential building.

Developers are keeping them busy and future projects will have an even greater sense of continuity as the firm expands its interiors department, completes an upcoming line of lighting fixtures, and plans to develop its own furniture. And with recently completed projects in Philadelphia and D.C., they’re taking their contextual approach to other cities. When asked if he ever feels restricted by his chosen milieu, Adjmi said he finds it liberating. “There are so many different ways you can interpret a city. There are so many different ways to make the context work.”

The Schumacher
New York City

A patina of time, paint, and hasty renovation was stripped away from this former printing house to reveal a brick structure with a street level cast iron facade. Historic preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners unearthed blurry photos showing a missing pediment, which, combined with drawings of similar structures by the original architect, helped complete the building. Inside, 20 condo units surround a courtyard designed by Ken Smith. But the most striking feature are the brick and terra-cotta vaulted ceilings, which were restored carefully, but not too carefully. “The first time the mason fixed a piece, it was perfect,” Adjmi said. “And I was like, this isn’t going to work. It’s too perfect. It has to look like it was always there.”

41-43 W 17th Street & 38-42 W 18th Street
New York City

These two buildings share a lot and both respond to the context of the Flatiron District without resorting to slavish imitation. On 18th Street, the building’s structure gets thinner as it rises, a move inspired by evolution of the buildings in the neighborhood, from small masonry structures to much larger glass buildings. The 17th Street structure is the ghost of a building that never existed. A metal mesh, woven to imitate the architectural elements of a typical New York building—brick, stone, cornices, windows, doors—floats less than a foot in front the building’s glass facade, creating a translucent screen that can be experienced from both sides of the wall.

372 Lafayette
New York City

There’s a reason Morris Adjmi Architects’s new office is also an art gallery; one never knows when inspiration might strike, or where it might come from. This rental building in one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods was initially inspired by New York’s cast iron buildings but when resolving its columns, Adjmi looked to one of the city’s great artists, Donald Judd. A Judd piece featuring a metal column partially embedded in a wood box inspired the combination of masonry and steel—a change from the original design made in response to the city’s Landmarks Conservancy, proving that, despite what many architects want to believe, sometimes elaborate bureaucratic processes can actually result in better buildings.

The Sterling Mason
New York City

Completed last year, this Tribeca condominium is two buildings—or, rather, one building twice. The original 1905 brick structure, a former coffee and tea warehouse, was restored and renovated while a dream-like metallic double was built next door using contrasting material. “I kept sketching buildings that look sort of like the building next door and then there was that moment when I realized, these are the exact same lots. And the building looked to me like it was cut.” So Adjmi completed building that never was. Perhaps more than any other project, The Sterling Mason recalls Rossi’s work: An ideal form drawn, quite literally, from the city around it, offering the opportunity to reexamine and reappraise the original architecture of the city and the effects of time.

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Fully Jacked
View east down 47th Street from Times Square. The Palace Theatre Building is the tall building at center-right.
Copyright 1920 by American Studio, N. Y. / Palace Theatre / 500

According to theatrical superstition, every theater has a ghost. At the Palace Theater in Times Square, the apparition of acrobat Louis Borsalino supposedly performs a nightly reenactment of his fatal 1935 fall. If that’s true, Borsalino will soon be haunting from a greater height. In November 2015, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved a proposal to jack up the landmark theater 29 feet to add additional retail space.

When the 1,800-seat Palace, designed by Milwaukee-based architects Kirchhoff & Rose, opened in 1913, it was celebrated for its surprising intimacy, superb acoustics, and baroque ornamentation. Touted as the “Valhalla of Vaudeville,” its boards were trod by performers like Sarah Bernhardt, the Marx Brothers, and Harry Houdini. With the rise of film, the theater was altered several times between the late 1920s and 1965, when current owner Nederlander converted the space into a Broadway theater.

In 1987, the LPC conferred landmark status to the Palace’s interior. In the original report, the commission wrote that “if one theater in New York’s Broadway theater district were to be named the most famous, the privilege would fall virtually uncontested to the Palace.”

The lift is part of a two-billion-dollar project spearheaded by Maefield Development, working with PBDW Architects and preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, that includes more than 66,000 square feet of new retail, 40,000 square feet of entertainment space, and a new hotel. Maefield has also acquired the adjacent 468-room DoubleTree Hotel, located at 1568 Broadway, which will be part of the project.

But it is changes to the Palace that have raised the ire of some preservationists and theater enthusiasts. The developers will move the theater’s current entrance, at Broadway and 7th Avenue, around the corner to 47th Street, freeing up valuable frontage on Times Square for retail.

One reason for the opposition is that the Palace helped make Times Square Times Square. Kelly Carroll, of preservation advocacy group the Historic Districts Council, told the commission that their decision “was indicative that our culture and art is merely secondary to a Times Square corporate chain store.” Preservation consultant Elise Quasebarth countered that the theater, which is essentially a separate building within a hotel tower, is already divorced from its historic context. In Quasebarth’s estimation, relocating the entry and adding a new 75-foot marquee away from the crowds, signs, and LED haze of Times Square, would strengthen the theater’s identity.

Beyond cultural implications, there’s concern that the architectural high-wire act will damage the theater’s deep-relief ornamental plasterwork.  However, in 1998, the same engineers safely moved the Empire Theater 168 feet down 42nd Street to make room for a new retail complex. In their estimation, moving the Palace will be easier: The theater will be protected by temporary shoring and guided by the structural system of the surrounding hotel as hydraulic columns slowly lift the structure.

Renovation plans go beyond mere preservation of the plasterwork. Plans call for the comprehensive repair and restoration of the building ornament, an updated lighting system more seamlessly integrated into the historic interior, and improved egress and infrastructure on both sides of the stage. The LPC concluded that the changes would ultimately benefit the Palace, although they approve the plan on the condition that an independent engineer monitor the project, and they retain the right to stop the work.