Last November, when developer Taconic Investment Partners first presented a plan for a torquing tower in steel and glass at the edge of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission almost fell in love. They called architect Morris Adjmi's design for 837 Washington Street handsome and powerful. But ultimately the commissioners backed off, declaring it a bit too big and bold, and sent the development and design team away with the promise of a second date. Now the time has come, so Adjmi (a popular choice these days) and Taconic returned to the Commission chambers this week to present a revised design. What they showed is 29 feet and two stories shorter than the original scheme, but it's still a twisting assemblage of stacked horizontal elements fronted in glass and wrapped in a steel exo-skeleton, all rising from the old 2-story moderne-influenced market building that's been on this corner since 1938.
The commissioners' responses to the truncated tower ranged from praise to...utter confusion. Some saw the design as a perfect example of our times and the neighborhood, expressing the marriage of high fashion to downtown edginess. Others found it too exuberant, overly glassy and simply too tall for its historic neighbors. To woo the decision makers, the design team showed images of the jumble of buildings that sat on this corner at West 13th and Washington 80 years ago, nearly as tall as the vertical addition they want to build now. Some commissioners were won over, but not all. The two sides agreed to meet again. Will they finally see some action on the third date?
· 837 Washington Street coverage [Curbed]