The three images above gives one some sense of the evolution of the Corn Exchange building on 125th Street and Park Avenue, leaving out the embarrassing disintegration phase of the last 40 years and current Romanesque stump. Danois Architects came up with a plan to resurrect the Corn Exchange as an homage to its earlier forms and with a thoroughly modern addition on top. "We've tried not to duplicate what was there before but bring back some of the flavor. When we finish with it, you won't know the building was never there," architect David Danois recently said before Community Board 11's cultural affairs committee Tuesday night.
Click to enlarge
The original building pictured on the left was called The Morris, built in 1883-1884 with apartments on the upper floors built in the Queen Anne style and a ground floor bank featuring Richardsonian Romanesque arches. In 1889-1890, architects Richard & Lamb enlarged the building along its Park Avenue axis, removing the bay windows and replacing them with windows featuring arches and lintels that corresponded by floor to the 125th Street side of the building. The top floor twin-gabled bay window was replaced with a much more gradual looking stepped gable in front of the mansard roofing. Small balconies were also added to keep the Park Avenue facade from being completely flat.
Major changes were not long in coming for The Morris. In 1913, the Mount Morris Bank on the ground floor was absorbed by The Corn Exchange Bank. The substantial porches along 125th Street were eventually demolished in order to bring the building flush with its building line. The building's decline in the 1970s mirrored that of New York in general, except that the address never really bounced back. A fire in 1997 destroyed the mansard roof and exposed the interior to the elements, weakening the structure. The City ordered all but the ground floor destroyed for safety reasons in 2009. Only the solid Romanesque ruins remain, and even they are cinder-blocked up.
The plan presented by Danois Architects for Artimus Development will bring back the upper five floors with bay windows and a mansard roof. There will also be a more modern addition on top of the roof that Artimus hopes will appeal to a commercial tenant desiring a loft-like space.
· Corn Exchange Building Will Have New Look With Old Flavor [DNAinfo]
· Corn Exchange coverage [CurbedNY]