Posts tagged with "Soho":

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Zaha Hadid Architects designs pop-up pavilion for Il Makiage

Makeup brand Il Makiage has opened up a new Soho pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid Architects to coincide with the launch of their new 800-product collection. The pavilion’s angular tunnel of ribbons with alternating gloss and matte finishes mimics the makeup’s packaging in exploded form. Each of the ribbons is slightly different and lighting is installed in them and around the mirrors, helping shoppers accurately choose the right color and tone. Kar-Hwa Ho, head of interiors at Zaha Hadid Architects, said that they “wanted to create an environment defined by the woman celebrated by Il Makiage,” adding that the pavilion is intended to be a “personal space that’s all about her.” The mobile pavilion will be open in Soho for six months and a second New York City pavilion will be opening in Flatiron this summer. Zaha Hadid Architects is also developing the permanent Il Makiage New York boutique, as well as locations in D.C. and Miami.
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Architecture Research Office to oversee Dia renovations and expansion

Dia Art Foundation is undergoing major changes at all its locations, overseen by New York-based architects Architecture Research Office (ARO), with partners Adam Yarinsky and Kim Yao taking the lead. The plan is to upgrade and expand the flagship New York City and Beacon locations, reactivate a programming space in Soho, and revitalize two New York exhibitions of Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), which have been in Dia’s care since the 1970s. Dia, which has been around since 1974, has exhibited primarily in former industrial sites, such as a converted Nabisco factory in Beacon, NY. As director Jessica Morgan told The New York Times, “The idea of new architecture is so antithetical to Dia.” ARO was chosen for its notable sensitivity to existing spaces and its experience in renovating art spaces, such as the Judd Foundation and the Rothko Chapel. In Beacon, ARO will redesign the former factory’s lower level to open up 11,000 square feet of exhibition space. Dia’s Chelsea location will also see an expansion. Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room and The Broken Kilometer Beyond will be getting climate control to keep them open through the summer. Beyond renovations and improvements of existing sites, the project also includes the reclamation of a 2500-square-foot gallery in Soho that had previously served as a retail space. Renovating existing spaces rather than engaging in new construction also aligns with Dia’s financial mission. These renovations are made possible in part by a $78 million campaign, which Dia is hoping to mostly direct to their endowment and to operating finances, rather than to construction. As Jessica Morgan, the Nathalie de Gunzburg Director of Dia, puts it, “Our work with ARO builds on Dia’s history of repurposing and activating found architectural spaces and will help us reinvigorate our mission and program across the range of sites that make up Dia today.”
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Handmade bricks clad SoHo infill, merging past and present

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Completed this year, 150 Wooster is an eight-story, mixed-use infill project for KUB Capital that offers a contemporary version of Soho loft living in a historic district. HTO Architect worked with the New York City Planning Commission and the Landmarks Preservation Commission to deliver the project, which features a custom-detailed brick facade articulated with limestone and painted steel ornamentation. Daniel Schillberg, managing director of design and architecture at KUB Capital, said this infill project is located on one of the last developable lots in Soho. “This was one of the last ground-up buildings in Soho and will probably be the last,” he said.
  • Facade Manufacturer Petersen Tegl (brick); Optimum Windows (windows); Diversified Glass and Storefronts INC (cornice fabrication)
  • Architects Daniel Schillberg, KUB Capital; HTO Architect (associate architect)
  • Facade Installer Structure Tech NY (masonry installer); Adler Windows (window installer); Diversified Glass and Storefronts INC (cornice installation)
  • Facade Consultants McNamara - Salvia Structural Engineers (structural consultant)
  • Location New York, NY
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System reinforced concrete frame with masonry infill
  • Products Petersen Tegl “Kolumba” brick; RTS-430 thermally broken steel windows by Optimum; Indiana Limestone
Soho’s predominantly cast iron structures date from 1830s to the 1850s, the surprisingly narrow spectrum of time when the majority of construction occured. The speed of construction in this neighborhood and others like it was achieved by means of prefabrication and a “kit of parts” mentality that was made possible due to advances in cast iron technology that paralleled mass industrialization. KUB said the project was inspired by this context, along with masonry structures that surround site. Depth of the facade was a key consideration in the design. The facade arranges a large operable window unit measuring over four by eight feet into eight bays, finding a sweet spot between energy code's permitted window-to-wall ratio, historic compositional proportions, and window manufacturer fabrication limitations. The resulting design, which received unanimous Landmarks approval, was approximately a year-long process.
To achieve the desired effect, the architects looked to materials common to the area—brick and limestone—but sought out detailing methods that produce a refined contemporary aesthetic to, in their words, "push the building into our modern times." This led to the refinement of a limestone trim detail that projects four inches beyond a primary facade of Petersen Tegl Kolumba brick. The masonry veneer is a long and thin proportion arranged in a stack bond with a tight 3/8" mortar joint to privilege the color of the brick over the mortar color. "These Petersen bricks have a lot of texture. They're essentially hand made which lead to a lot of ridges and good imperfections," said Schillberg. Window units are defined by a dark metal frame set 16 inches back from the face of the building, exposing Indiana limestone, which swells to meet the window frame assembly in one precise angular taper. The masonry installers built a single window bay mockup by looking at the detailing of the spandrel bricks, limestone trim, and the primary facade bricks. One of the constructional challenges was the weight of the limestone trim, which required complex drop beams with specific edge detailing for the concrete superstructure. The limestone, which is pinned back to these moments in the structure of the building, acts as a modified custom brick lintel to support the masonry veneer. Another key detail of the project is the custom metal work on the storefront and cornice. Both elements were inspired by traditional cast iron detailing involving prefabricated modules of profiled galvanized steel sheets. The cornice essentially functions as a miniature brise-soleil, and is composed of custom-profiled metal fins. "I loved the idea of having a cornice where, as you approach the building, it evoked the sculptural shaping of a cornice, but as you get underneath it, it actually disappeared into thin elements that allow light through," Schillberg said. The brick manufacturer, Petersen Tegl, is a small family-run Danish brickworks company founded more than 200 years ago. Their products are still handmade through a carefully crafted traditional process of hand-pressed, coal-fired production. This produces authentic bricks with a variety of signature light and dark shades. In addition to helping new buildings meld with older and more classic surroundings, Petersen Tegl’s handmade bricks are also helping to revive the idea of the skilled artisan and masonry construction. They’re popular in New York: A developer on Manhattan’s Upper East Side working on the tallest building in the neighborhood north of 72nd Street is utilizing nearly 600,000 Petersen Tegl bricks to connect the structure to its art deco context. Across the river in Brooklyn, two developers have launched luxury condo projects, 145 President and 211 Schermerhorn, each featuring the handcrafted aesthetic of a Petersen Tegl brick facade.
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What’s being done—or not—to save Manhattan’s small businesses from Amazon and big box competition

Broadway, Manhattan’s longest street and a main commercial drag, spans the length of the island from hilly Inwood to Lower Manhattan’s breezy Bowling Green. There are shops from nose to tail, but a recent survey found that Broadway is also home to almost 200 vacant storefronts, dead zones on one of Gotham’s liveliest thoroughfares.

Glaring vacancies aren’t limited to Broadway though. From Madison and Fifth Avenue to Broadway in Soho and Bleeker Street in the West Village, high-end commercial strips in Manhattan are having trouble attracting commercial tenants. A healthy vacancy rate is 5 percent, but some fancy areas are in the midst of high-rent blight, with one in five (20 percent) storefronts vacant.

Further north, in Washington Heights, a whole block of immigrant-owned businesses were essentially evicted after new landlords proposed a 100 percent rent increase and declined to renew their leases.

Why is this happening?

The causes are predictable, but the solutions are not.

High rent, high taxes, regulations that favor owners over tenants, and plain old capitalism—the incentive for owners to seek their property’s maximum value, and the consumer’s desire to acquire goods at the lowest price—all contribute to the twin plagues of vacancy and the mall-ification (national chains displacing small, local businesses) of Manhattan. Stakeholders, though, disagree on what should be done to solve a growing crisis at street level.

This spring, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office (MBPO) recruited volunteers to count all the vacant storefronts along Broadway, citing a dearth of information on how many vacancies exist, and where. The survey follows an effort from two years ago where the office reached out to small businesses and offered potential policy solutions to businesses’ problems.

But first the report had to determine what a small business is, a question that is not as obvious as it seems.

The federal government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) measures business size by number of employees or the company’s value, depending on the sector. The Small Business Act, though, uses a measure that doesn’t exactly conjure visions of mom-and-pops: It says small businesses have fewer than 500 employees. Under the same rules, a microbusiness has fewer than five employees and requires $35,000 in capital or less to get going.

In New York State, small businesses are companies that employ fewer than one hundred people, while New York City’s Department of Small Business Services doesn’t set a number. Instead, it encourages any self-identifying businesses to seek out its resources.

Consequently, the MBPO’s March 2015 report called for a standardized measure of “small,” and the recommendations in its report are geared toward firms with 15 or fewer employees.

No matter how you define them, it’s clear that the not-so-invisible hand of the market is driving these firms out of business on Manhattan’s main streets. One problem? Stratospheric commercial rent increases. In 2014, the average asking rent in Manhattan was $65.14 per square foot. With ever-more high-income individuals flooding Manhattan, landlords are reluctant to offer 10- or 15-year commercial leases lest they get stuck with a lower-paying tenant as commercial land values in the neighborhood skyrocket.

Other problems, the report found, include businesses not having enough insurance, delaying tax payment, and under-budgeting for utilities. On the city side, some business owners in the report cited punitive agency inspectors who, instead of working with the owner to correct an issue, slapped the business with a fine.

Additional solutions don’t seem politically viable or aren’t effected at a scale that works.

A special tax for businesses in most of Manhattan eats into viability, too. In June, Mayor Bill de Blasio rejected the city council's proposal to alter commercial rent tax, an almost four percent surcharge on annual rent of $250,000 or more on businesses below 96th Street. As rents have risen, the tax threshold has stayed the same, and more businesses have become impacted. A bill (sponsored by Councilmember Dan Garodnick) that would raise the ceiling to $500,000 in annual rent didn’t make it into the final 2018 budget, though the item could be considered at a later date. If that limit were approved, the city would lose $52 million in revenue annually.

Zoning regulations encourage new development with huge storefronts that work for Chase and CVS but not for their independent counterparts. On the Upper West Side, though, neighbors are seeing mixed success from initiatives like a 2012 zoning change that limited storefronts to 25 feet, but don’t limit store size, as businesses are free to expand up or down as space permits.

But some advocates say these reforms don’t go far enough to stop business closures and the encroachment of chain stores.

“There is a crisis,” said Kirsten Theodos, cofounder of TakeBackNYC, an advocacy group for New York City small businesses. New York is losing 1,000 small businesses and 8,000 jobs per month. Theodos, who lives near the East Village, said all of this “fuels the hyper-gentrification and whitewashing of the city, a process that’s really accelerated over the past six years.”

Her group supports the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), a piece of local legislation that would set new rules around renewing commercial leases. Among other provisions, SBJSA would give commercial tenants, at minimum, a ten-year lease plus right to renewal and the option of arbitration to come to a new rent. The legislation is designed to slow, not stop, the rate of change in neighborhoods, and level the playing field for florists and bakeries competing for storefronts with Starbucks and Pottery Barn.

When the bill was first introduced in 2014, it had the support of 17 councilmembers—now it has the support of 26, or half the council. But in a city dominated by real estate interests, the bill is a nonstarter, Theodos explained. REBNY, the city’s largest real estate trade association, opposes the proposed rules, rallying around the idea that land values are subject to the “free market” and (incorrectly) deeming the rules “rent control.”

Even real estate boosters, though, acknowledge the downtrends in the market. According to REBNY, average asking rents in Manhattan this past spring fell in 14 of 17 of the borough’s top shopping strips compared with 2016 and record highs in 2014 and 2015. But the group maintains that a variety of factors set Manhattan apart from the suburbs, and grant the city a degree of immunity from experts’ dire predictions about the death of retail. In New York, REBNY says there are “strong market fundamentals,” including diverse food tenants, online retailers opening storefronts, and the eternal cache of a New York, NY address.

But to REBNY, doing well means collecting more rent. Fifth Avenue between 14th and 23rd streets (the Flatiron Fifth Avenue corridor) and Broadway between Battery Park and Chambers Street (the Lower Manhattan corridor) did the best, with ground floor rents rising by 18 percent to $456 per square foot in the Flatiron and 11 percent to $362 per square foot along the Lower Manhattan corridor. The report only looks at rents along main strips. Rents on side streets, according to the report, could diverge from the main drag; conversely, a gorgeous space on a prime corner may command greater asking rent and affect averages all along the strip.

It’s not only high rents and taxes that are driving businesses to close. Online shopping is slaying retailers big and small, in Manhattan and the suburbs and beyond. Right now, unchecked real estate speculation and limited protections for small-business owners mean that there is little protection against ultimately having a national bank and pharmacy on every corner.

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Jackie Robinson Museum finally starts construction after a decade-long wait

Work has finally begun on a New York City museum that will honor Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson. Originally, the museum was slated open in 2009, but the Great Recession stalled fundraising for ten years. Now the museum, designed by Gensler’s New York office with exhibition design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, is set to open in 2019. The 18,500-square-foot museum is being built into the ground floor of One Hudson Square, in Manhattan’s Soho district. A permanent exhibit will inform visitors of Robinson’s part in the civil rights movement, showcasing Jackie Robinson’s achievements against the backdrop of U.S. history from 1919 to the present. Beyond learning, these panels are functional, retracting to form the walls of an arena setting, or sliding out of sight to create more space for larger events. In these cases, temporary seating can also be installed. More hands-on exhibits, meanwhile will inform visitors on subjects including baseball, segregation, citizenship, personal integrity, and social change. A 75 seat theater will round out the program. "The Jackie Robinson Museum is an opportunity to bring an important cultural landmark to NYC—one that challenges visitors to think about the history of social and cultural change and tolerance," wrote said Joseph Plumeri, chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation National Legacy Campaign, in an information document about the museum. "The lessons learned from Jackie’s personal journey will touch people of all ages, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds." In terms of funding, the Associated Press reported that about $23.5 million has been raised to build the museum. The Jackie Robinson Foundation has its eyes set on a total of $42 million to pay for the museum's operating costs (42 was the baseball player's number).
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Craft collaborations elevate Thakoon’s flagship Soho store by SHoP Architects

Like an architect, fashion designer Thakoon Panichgul carefully balances contemporary and historical influences. His eponymous brand has won him fans from Michelle Obama to Target, but when it came time to build a brick-and-mortar store, Panichgul and New York–based SHoP faced a more complex balancing act. They wanted to carefully devise an interior that would reflect its Soho surroundings and the Thakoon aesthetic, all while grabbing the attention of passersby and setting itself apart from competitors.

“Thakoon was really interested in making [the store] of its place, of New York, bringing in the grit of the city,” said Coren Sharples, principal at SHoP. Concrete with dark aggregate covers the floors, and the architects tapped Brooklyn-based Fernando Mastrangelo Studio to cast multiple concrete walls throughout the store. Mastrangelo reproduced the subtle gradients of his furniture on an architectural scale, pouring multiple layers of gray-hued concrete in a single casting. “This was crazy, it was done on site,” said Sharples. “This was formed up and poured. Really a little scary, but [Mastrangelo] was amazing.”

Wood was also an important part of Panichgul’s vision—the designer had prepared a mood board with several wood treatments that figured prominently in other fashion brands’ aesthetics. These ranged from light treatments with vernacular ornamentation (what he called “American Traditional”) to richly grained and darkly stained (“American Glam”). SHoP and Panichgul ultimately chose an unfinished white oak (“American Cool”), a look that left the wood in its raw, natural state. White oak surfaces sinuously undulate along the showroom’s walls even as they retain a dry, coarse texture. The architects and client also worked closely with Brooklyn-based furniture maker Vonnegut/Kraft on the store’s wood furniture: Connection details, leather seating, and each edge and taper went through multiple iterations before landing on a design that features simple woven-leather straps. Vonnegut/Kraft’s pieces stand in the main showroom and hug the curves of each dressing room.

Extra seating is provided by travertine blocks that were CNC-milled in Italy to 3-D models provided by SHoP. Panichgul tapped London-based designer Michael Anastassiades for the principal lighting features: simple orbs with brass detailing. Brass is also used for the store’s clothing rods and the towering sculptural display rack that stands prominently in the main showroom.

Taken all together, the materials find ways to somehow be both angular and curved, smooth and gritty, even as their neutral tones give the clothing center stage. “We wanted it to be infused with material sensibility and warmth, but at the same time, it’s always this line you walk because you don’t want to overpower or dictate,” said Sharples.

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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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World’s first (and only) LGBTQ art museum to expand its Soho space

A venerable downtown art institution has recently announced plans to expand its diminutive Soho space into a larger gallery. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art's expansion will nearly double the size of the 30-year-old museum to make room for its expanding permanent collection and provide more space for public programming. A Soho resident since its founding, the Leslie-Lohman Museum is the world's first (and only) institution dedicated to LGBTQ art. New York–based Steven Keith Architect will add 2,300 square feet to the existing 3,300-square-foot museum. "This expansion marks an extraordinary turning point and phase of substantive growth for the Museum, which has had a strong presence in SoHo for nearly 30 years," said Interim Museum Executive Director Meryl A. Allison, in a statement. "Not only are we adding an entirely new gallery to the museum, but we are also actively enhancing our permanent collection through our recently announced Hunter O'Hanian Diversity Art Fund. This fund, which has raised over $40,000 since its inception this summer, supports our mission of representing all of our constituents through collecting non-cisgender white male artists." The expanded museum, which is always free to visit, will open to the public early next year with an exhibition of 140 pieces, including collection highlights and recently acquired work by artists like Mickalene Thomas, George Bellows, Bernice Abbott, Go Mishima, and Richard Hamilton. The institution is not the only downtown museum aiming to live larger: In the past year alone, two Lower East Side institutions—the New Museum and the Tenement Museum—have announced major expansions.
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New images of Renzo Piano’s luxury Soho residential tower released

New images of Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s first residential building in New York City have surfaced, showing off the façade and a few of its amenities. The 30-story tower will be split into two spires, and will be located at 565 Broome Street in Soho. "565 Broome SoHo" will offer a total of 115 residences, including two duplex penthouses. The other units will range from studios to four-bedroom homes. The tower is being built with luxury in mind, and offers all the amenities one might expect from a top-tier residential building. In addition to a 55-foot-long indoor pool, sauna, and fitness center, tenants will be able to park their cars using a private driveway. All units will offer floor to ceiling windows and custom designed kitchen fixtures, and some will contain an outdoor living room and private pool. The building’s facade is being built with powder-coated aluminum and acoustic glass to keep out the noise of SoHo and the neighboring Financial District. Renzo Piano’s other buildings in New York include the Whitney Museum and the New York Times Building.
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Roll & Hill lighting showroom, designed by architecture firm Husband Wife, opens in Soho

Brooklyn lighting company Roll & Hill is opening its first-ever showroom in Manhattan’s Soho district May 14. Together with architecture firm Husband Wife, with which the company previously partnered for its Euroluce stand in Milan, and designer Jason Miller, Roll & Hill created a space that reflected its boutique offerings. Founder Jason Miller established the company in 2010 to offer high-quality local craftsmanship (the factory is located in Sunset Park) to a mass audience—working with independent designers such as Lindsey Adelman, Fort Standard, Philippe Malouin, and Formafantasma. The showroom is meant to be a reflection of its luxury wares: “I think lighting often acts as a counterpoint to architecture. I have heard it described as ‘jewelry for the home,’ and I wanted to create an environment that would allow the lights to do just that,” said Miller.

To achieve this effect, the building was completely gutted and elegantly redone in white open spaces punctuated by simple fluted columns, oblong archways, delicate staircases, and gently curving walls. The 4,000-square-foot, four-story showroom opens with a first floor that functions like a traditional gallery (“Without the stuffiness,” Miller clarified), while the second floor is viewed as the “library floor” and the third floor “has a sexy ’70s vibe,” both with plush carpets and wood paneling, accompanied by exclusively designed furniture by Miller, Malouin, and Finn Juhl. “I was looking for a place…that felt intimate. I think it does exactly what I was hoping.”

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Apple shows love to New York’s historic neighborhoods and the Landmarks Conservancy takes notice

The New York Landmarks Conservancy is honoring Apple with its 2016 Chairman's Award. The award, to be given at a fundraising luncheon where individual tickets start at $500, honors the company for "their contribution to preserving, restoring, and repurposing notable historic structures in New York City." Although Apple's New York flagship store, on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th streets, is recognized widely for its modern glass cube, the company has four stores in historically significant locations around the city. Apple has a shop in Grand Central Terminal, a New York City landmark, and stores within the Soho, Gansevoort Market, and Upper East Side historic districts. With 700,000 travellers passing through Grand Central Terminal, that store is the most heavily trafficked of the historic four, Apple Insider speculates. In March, the NYLC will recognize the company's commitment to historic preservation (or locating stores in historic areas, as there is no explicit preservation agenda in the stores' design). The Chairman's Award was started in 1988 to recognize "exceptional commitment to the protection and preservation of the rich architectural heritage of New York." The NYLC is different from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission: the latter is a city government group that decides which districts and structures receive recognition for the historic, cultural, or architectural merits and subsequent protection under local historic preservation laws. The former is a nonprofit advocacy organization that protects the architectural heritage of New York City by advocating for preservation-friendly policy at the state, local, and national level; running workshops and providing technical assistance; and providing loans and grants for preservation of individual structures, sites, and neighborhoods.
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DDG reinterprets cast iron facades of Soho

“We’re always interested in the intersection between old-fashioned hand craft, and modern machined factory production.”

Located in the Soho Cast Iron Historic district, XOCO325 (pronounced sho/co) is a 9-story, 24-unit condo development. Named after the Catalan word for chocolate, the project involves the renovation of a former Tootsie chocolate factory, and a new structure cloaked in a custom cast aluminum screen. The condos range in size from just over 1,000 sq. ft. to nearly 5,000 sq. ft. and are connected by a central courtyard. The design, development, and construction of the project has all been coordinated by New York-based office DDG who specializes in inclusive project delivery. Peter Guthrie, Chief Creative Officer and Head of Design & Construction of DDG, says from very early on, this “one-stop-shop” approach to development was rooted in the idea of embracing unique material qualities in construction. “At 41 Bond Street – one of our first projects – we were hand carving bluestone pieces on site. One of the ideas we had early on was that by doing this ourselves in house, and controlling everything throughout the process, we could bring back an element of craft that other companies couldn’t afford to do.” The most prominent feature of XOCO325 is a custom cast aluminum screen, carefully developed through an extensive survey of the cast iron district, where roughly 250 cast iron buildings reside. Through this study, the project team began to understand the cast iron facade as an industrialized “kit of parts” approach to architecture where design and construction rely heavily on series of componentry made available through pattern books. Inspiration also came from contemporary catalogs such as McMaster-Carr’s online website, which Guthrie labels as a “bible of industrial parts.” The catalog includes everything from bolts and screws to street lamp posts and furniture.
  • Facade Manufacturer Walla Walla Foundry
  • Architects DDG Partners
  • Facade Installer DDG Partners
  • Facade Consultants DDG Partners
  • Location New York, NY
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System curtain wall with aluminum screen
  • Products cast aluminum in custom composite formwork, curtainwall system, cast in place concrete sitework
DDG adopted this attitude of mass-produced componentry in their digitally developed forms, arriving at a proportioning system and bay spacing reminiscent of historical buildings in the area. “We’re always interested in the intersection between old-fashioned hand craft, and modern machined factory production,” says Guthrie. “There was an angle here we wanted to explore. Aluminum was light and, in the end, more affordable than replicating cast iron.” The project team developed a repetitive spandrel and column shape, working with a foundry to develop reusable composite forms with a weathered burlap texture. When prototyping versions of the system, the project team prioritized formal adjustments to the massing such as curvature and shadow lines to emphasize a sense of depth found on facades of historic buildings in the district. By “delaminating” the building enclosure system from the cast aluminum screen, a two-foot gap was established allowing the residential units to have a full span curtain wall glazing, while still maintaining some level of security and privacy. “That was our way of getting both: making a modern building without compromising on psychological stability and privacy.” This configuration is celebrated by the project team as having a “robust stability.” Within this space, balconies occupy the courtyard facing units, while a custom planter system comprised of pockets cast into the screen and a series of cables, is incorporated onto the primary street facade. The project is beginning sales, with an anticipated completion in 2016.