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Glassy Soho Office Building Leaps Landmarks Hurdle with Ease

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Owner Marcello Porcelli's seven-story, 60,000-square-foot office and retail building at the corner of Houston and Lafayette is one step closer to becoming a reality, as the plans won enthusiastic approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday. Although the commissioners were forced to admit that the glass, stone, and terracotta design—courtesy of Rick Cook and COOKFOX Architects—had little, if any, relevance to the character of the Cast Iron Historic District, they were quite taken with it all the same. Commissioner Fred Bland called the "biophilic design," which will seek to connect its inhabitants to nature via balconies planted with different types of greenery native to Manahattan, "the most erudite and captivating presentation I've witnessed in my four years on the council." Commissioner Michael Devonshire praised it as a "non-building" that defers completely to the Puck Building across the street. The plans were approved unanimously.

The building, which will aim for LEED Gold certification, also received support from representatives of the U.S. Green Building Council and the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Commissioner Michael Goldblum noted that the "project could have been done for probably one quarter or one half the budget shown here" and applauded Porcelli's commitment to bringing a well-designed and energy efficient building to the Noho-Soho border. Next up for Porcelli, Cook, and company is to get the city to grant them special permits for height and retail.
· From Gas Station to Glass Station at Houston and Lafayette [Curbed]