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Flatiron Building's New Honeycomb Rooftop Gets Sweet Reception

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Score one victory for architect Morris Adjmi, whose revised plan for 33 West 19th Street has just been granted approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. This thumbs up for a vertical enlargement with a honeycomb cover could take the sting out of the LPC's recent slice and dice of Adjmi's twisted plan near the High Line. Here, on a through-block plot in the Ladies' Mile Historic District, Adjmi had previously proposed a five-story addition for the original 1903 six-story office building, but unamused preservationists and commissioners looking for context deemed that one too tall and overbearing. So Adjmi re-worked the plan for long-time owner Panasia Estate, and came up with a mansard style addition, re-thought for an age when glass and metal reign.

The building runs across the entire block from 19th to 20th Streets, and under Adjmi's plan the north and south facades will get light from floor to ceiling. Starting with the idea of a classic skylight, the new facade shows the peaked shape doubled, then tilted on its side and slid up to the two added floors. Set back behind the grand old cornice, a sloping face of honeycomb will rise, covered in hexagonal panes echoing the shape of shingles seen on Empire-era rooftops throughout the landmarked district. This latest plan rises just doors away from another Adjmi project, completed back in 2008. That's The Emory at 27 West 19th Street, a column of condos in gray brick and zinc, whose form is reminiscent of the addition Adjmi created with Aldo Rossi for the Scholastic World Headquarters on Broadway in Soho. Busy as bees, that Morris Adjmi crew, at least when Landmarks lets them get their way.
· Flatiron Landmark Might Get a New Topping [Curbed]
· Projects: 27 West 19 Street [Morris Adjmi Architects]