The proposed renovation/modernization by BKSK Architects of the 104-106 South Street buildings to include new windows, sloped green roofs (read: insulating grasses planted on the top of the buildings), and the addition of storefront infill and canopies was met with a lukewarm reception at the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday.
Henry Kendall, the lead architect on the project, explained what BKSK was going for: "a healthy mix of old and new" and "a rebirth of the seaport area that honors the longstanding psychology of the sloping roof." The proposal from BKSK also included a restoration of the original red brick from what was described as "a lurid plum color."
To show proof of the sad state of the bricks, Kendall literally brought out samples, describing the state of the facade as "moldy and horrible." The LPC members were thoroughly unimpressed by this revelation. Probably not the first time they’ve seen moldy bricks in preservation land.
The commissioners were also unimpressed by BKSK's proposed building height change: the addition of a fifth story and sloped roofs would make the buildings a total of seven stories high. Also receiving less than rave reviews were the green roofs. Commissioner Michael Goldblum, for example, was “vehemently” against them on the grounds that they wouldn’t stand true to the character of the neighborhood. Other causes for criticism: the method that would be used to restore the bricks, the addition of raised lettering on the facade of the buildings, the overly slick addition of flat canopies (which were compared to ones on Gansevoort Street, the horror!), and the perhaps excess use of glass.
Still, commissioner Robert Tierney proclaimed himself "convinced" of BKSK's plan. The LPC has yet to vote on the restoration, so the buildings will have to wait a little longer to (perhaps!) go green.
· Green Roofs May Help Seaport Buildings Grow Taller [Curbed]