After the West Village waterfront transitioned from warehouses and trannie hookers to penthouses and celebrity onlookers, area preservationists fought like hell to get the neighborhood downzoned to prevent more out-of-scale development like the trio of glassy Richard Meier mini-towers. They succeeded, but two sites were left out of the deal: The Superior Ink factory, which was torn down to create, drumroll, Superior Ink, and the Whitehall Storage building at 150 Charles Street. Residents feared another tear-down, but the Witkoff Group eventually agreed to a big stack of condos on top of the existing building, with a shape that kind of made it look like a huge love seat facing the Hudson River. Little did we know we were actually dealing with a waterbed!
There's a blog that is intently following the gutting of the Whitehall building, a process which is now underway (fun fact: the old loading bays will one day be townhouse entrances). That blog has also uncovered the building's new name, The Watershed, on the website of Dirtworks, the landscape architects recruited for the project. That's where things get really interesting. Check out some of the details, as written by Dirtworks:
Inspired by the building's name, "The Watershed," Dirtworks explores moving water as the principal design element in this residential building. Recalling the New York City watershed, an extraordinary and complex network of reservoirs, lakes, rivers and streams, Dirtworks is developing a series of "cascading" water features from the rooftop to the street level representing "tributaries" that will flow down into the building's courtyard, the central and most visible shared space of the building. Water is also used as a sustainable source. Harvesting rainwater will become the basis of irrigation while creating opportunities to further reinforce the use of moving water as a design element. Scuppers, splash basins, planters, holding tanks and other features expose the use and collection of storm water while reinforcing the transparent concepts that resonate from several of the building's other characteristics.
Who doesn't love a good scupper? The Dirtworks site has the above refreshed rendering (the building itself is the work of Cook + Fox Architects), and some landscaping plans we can't really make any sense of. As the great Derek Zoolander once said, "Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty." Hopefully The Watershed can live up to these powerful words.
· The Watershed at 150 Charles Street [Dirtworks]
· "The Watershed at 150 Charles Street" ...YEAH!!! it has BEGUN! [westvillageconstructionnyc.blogspot.com]
· Whitehall Storage Revealed: West Village Gets the Chair! [Curbed]