As TF Cornerstorne's massive six-building, 2,100-apartment East Coast megadevelopment continues to take shape along the Long Island City waterfront, its latest under-construction project has taken into account the 147-foot-long Pepsi-Cola sign that has been a neighborhood staple since the Depression. Building Blocks guru David Dunlop chronicles the city's modern-day love affair with the bright red, Gothically lettered billboard, which sports an oversized bottle at its edge. Turns out the principal architect behind 4610 Center Boulevard, Bernando Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica, is a big ol' fanboy, and purposely made the edges of the building rounded rather than perpendicular, and recessed the bottom eight floors by 12 feet, in order to appropriately frame the ad. This video love letter to the sign and its past that TF Cornerstone has on its site and YouTube channel is worth a watch?some of Fort-Brescia's excitement just might rub off.
Built in 1936, the sign used to top a Pepsi factory nearby, which shut down in 1999. When Pepsi sold much of its land to TF Cornerstone's head honchos, the Elghanayan brothers, it cleverly held onto a parcel of prime real estate for its well-positioned endorsement. The sign moved to its current spot, within Gantry Plaza State Park, in 2009, and then the East Coast buildings started to rise closer than expected.
But Fort-Brescia was so inspired that he decided to work around it?not because Pepsi asked, though whether his choice was due to the billboard's aesthetic value, historical significance, or the general trendiness of retro things we'll never know?telling the Times: "It is almost as if the face of the sign shaped the volumetrics of the building... I didn't want the sharp corners of a rectangle competing with the letters. I chose to curve the corners so the building seems to fade away."
· As a Queens Tower Rises, a Spot Is Saved for Pepsi-Cola [NYT]
· All Pepsi-Cola sign coverage [Curbed]
· All East Coast coverage [Curbed]