Developer DDG and architect Peter Guthrie presented their design for an eight-story, ten-unit condo bulding at 100 Franklin Street to the Landmarks Commission today amid fervent public opposition. For the most part, the Commission came down on the side of the neighbors, remarking that the design, which features a facade of recovered brick layered over by a glass screen as well as a mansard roof with a large bulkhead, was too "attention-calling" at the top and that, overall, it "just seems muddled and trying to do a lot of things." Multiple commissioners thought that the brick starting at the second floor gave the impression that the building was floating in midair. However, they were not opposed, in principle, to the use of glass in the Tribeca East Historic District, and did think that elements of the design could be saved going forward.
The Tribeca residents who showed up to give testimony were, of course, far less reserved in their criticism. "Reused brick is contextual in a pizza store in Queens. It's not contextual here," said architect Walter Melvin, who also called the top of the building a "glass spaceship that has crashed on the roof." Another gentleman announced that the design, if approved, would create an "international scandal."
Reps for DDG have claimed that the outcry against the project has been orchestrated by the residents of neighboring 17 White Street, who are worried about losing their lot-line windows. There were residents of that building in attendance, although they did not make up the majority of the opposition. They were either savvy enough not to mention anything about windows, or really did believe that the building would be a blight on the neighborhood, as their testimony suggested.
DDG, who does have experience getting new buildings with inventive designs (41 Bond Street and 325 West Broadway) past the Landmarks Commission, will return with revised plans at a later date.
· 100 Franklin Street [Curbed]