Back in October, the Landmarks Preservation Commission?in a close and controversial vote?decided to allow St. Vincent's Hospital and developer Rudin Management to demolish the O'Toole Building along Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village to make way for a big new hospital tower. That ruling merely covered the hospital's right to raze the loved/hated "Overbite Building," and not the details of the Pei Cobb Freed-designed elliptical hospital tower or the various residential buildings that are part of this massive project. In fact, some commissioners have already trashed the bulk and look of the plan. The Architect's Newspaper reports that St. Vincent's and Rudin recently brought their revised plan back to the LPC, but it got ripped a new one again. Why? Because the only significant change was turning the proposed curvy hospital tower into a rectangle. An ugly rectangle!
From AN's report on the December hearing:
"For the better part of a year, we've been looking at this project, and I think it is as inappropriate as when we started," commissioner Stephen Byrns told the applicant. “I cannot even begin to comment on the architecture given its out-of-scale bulk.” Commissioner Elizabeth Ryan even poked fun at the design. “Ever since you presented us with your designs, there has been talk about how the tower disappears from its base,” she said. “I think it needs to disappear entirely.” Thus began round two in the saga of St. Vincent’s and the O’Toole Building, a project that is all but certain to drastically reshape its West Village neighborhood. Indeed, an alternative design presented for the tower caused almost as much anger as it was meant to assuage, and prompted several commissioners to offer their support for the hospital’s original plans.
Which may have been St. Vincent's/Rudin's strategy all along! Some LPCers favor a proposal that would have the hospital bridge or build over a section of West 12th Street, allowing St. Vincent's to incorporate a triangular lot that is slated to serve as a loading dock and then lower the height of the tower.
· No Alternative [Architect's Newspaper]
· St. Vincent's coverage [Curbed]