The Landmarks Preservation Commission was able to really show off their full range of emotions this Tuesday. The proposal for 688 Broadway was met with unbridled delight (one commissioner called it "ravishing" while another wished he could "reach out and touch this building.") Meanwhile, the Commission was completely nonplussed by Carlos Zapata's flat, boring proposal for 22 West 24th Street. And with these two buildings in mind, we bring you the Top Five and Bottom Five Reactions from the Gatekeepers of Historical Preservation. Let's start with the nice ones.
5) The LPC surprised nearly everyone by loving the new design for 187 Franklin Street, the "Ed Hardy of Tribeca townhouses." Commissioners described the proposal as "phenomenal," "symphonic," "exciting," "smart," and "delirious." One commissioner asked, "Is this a contribution or is this lunacy?" and then voted for it anyway. The community board and Historic Districts Council were left sputtering.
4) The Commission called the proposal for a seven-story luxury condo building at 246 Front Street "perfectly fine" and "basically very approvable" back in July. High praise indeed! This is the LPC we're talking about, after all.
3) The third time was the charm for Morris Adjmi's addition to 837 Washington Street. Even though the Commission liked the design, they twice declared it too tall to approve. Once Adjmi got it down to an acceptable height, though, commissioners called the design "a beautiful evolution," and told Adjmi that he'd set a high bar for future development in the neighborhood.
2) A neighborhood resident called Joseph Pell Lombardi's plan for an all glass 403 Greenwich Street "a Disney World gimmick" when the Tribeca building was up for approval in 2009. The Commission disagreed, calling the design "daring," "intriguing" and "innovative."
1) Morris Adjmi is the undisputed king of getting wacky designs in historic districts past the LPC. Back in 2010 (right after the first of 837 Washington's two rejections) he managed to get approval for a vertical enlargement with a honeycomb cover on top of 33 West 19th Street in the Ladies Mile Historic District.
And now, the Landmarks Preservation Commission's Top Five Disses:
5) The plan for a large townhouse at 27 Cranberry Street in Brooklyn Heights was controversial from the start, and it was thoroughly panned the first time the LPC had a look at it. One commissioner called it "a McMansion ... wedging its way into this enclave in the Heights," while Chairman Tierney said it was "time for a major rethinking." The Commission later approved a modified version.
4) "I really, really wanted to figure out how to like this project," said one commissioner, when Kushner Companies presented its plan for two penthouse additions to the Puck Building last October. He did not manage to like it, however, and neither did the other commissioners, who called the additions "too big, too tall, too visible," and in need of "a new architectural, theoretical approach." The plans were later approved when the penthouses were made invisible from street level.
3) When Andre Kikoski designed a food kiosk that would provide Guggenheim visitors with a more attractive alternative to street vendors, one commissioner commented, "I'm sympathetic with the problem, but not at all sympathetic with the solutions." Tierney remarked, "All of our standard appropriateness tests are not met here," and the proposal was unanimously denied.
2) The St. Vincent's saga featured many different plans and designs, none more reviled than the huge, boring rectangle that Pei Cobb Freed came up with after the LPC bashed their elliptical hospital tower design. "I cannot even begin to comment on the architecture given its out-of-scale bulk," said one commissioner, with another adding, "I think it needs to disappear entirely." It did.
1) When a stretch of Canal Street in the Tribeca East Historic District was rebuilt without LPC approval, the job of fixing the damage fell to Paul Castrucci Architect, who proposed to do so with a series of aluminum-framed storefronts. One commissioner called the proposal "one solid piece of duct tape running along Canal Street," while another whispered, "I don't know what to say." A third simply called the proposal "sad."
· Landmarks Preservation Commission coverage [Curbed]
· Preservation Watch [Curbed]