The latest news on New York architecture.

  • On fifth try, Puck changes finally pass muster

    Jared Kushner's scaled-down plans for an addition to top of the landmarked SoHo building finally gets the thumbs up from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    It looks like five times is the charm for Jared Kushner of Kushner Cos. and his plans to make additions to SoHo's landmarked Puck Building. The city Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved a scaled-back version of the developer's plan to build atop the 203,000-square-foot, mixed-use building at 295-309 Lafayette St., at East Houston Street, on Tuesday. The approved additions are 20 feet shorter than the previous plan, courtesy of reduced ceiling heights. Meanwhile, the size has been scaled back by approximately 1,500 square feet, and the materials were changed from glass and metal to predominantly masonry and brick in order to match the existing building. The proposal also includes a restoration of the 10-story Romanesque revival-style building's original parapet and crenellations. Mr. Kushner's architects presented the original proposals three months ago. All the commissioners were pleased with how far the project has come since they first saw it in September, and three subsequent times after that, according to a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission. “I am very pleased with the results. We got an extension approved that allows us to go forward with a special project,” said Mr. Kushner, in a statement. “The additions to the building will further enhance one of the most iconic buildings in the world.” “They've reached the target of minimalism in terms of massing,” said Landmarks Commissioner Michael Devonshire, an architectural conservator, in a statement. Landmarks Commissioner Michael Goldblum added that Mr. Kushner showed, with this version, “a tremendous willingness to exercise modesty and restraint.” Even the local preservationists seemed pleased with the revised plans, at least for now. “We are very glad that the Landmarks Preservation Commission listened to calls from New Yorkers to reject prior versions of this proposal, which would have overwhelmed and fundamentally changed one of our city's most beloved landmarks,” said Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, in a statement. “Only time will tell if the final, scaled–back version approved by Landmarks today is truly worthy of this great New York landmark.”   Read more: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20111220/REAL_ESTATE/111229981#ixzz1jpUUJHEv  Puck Building Jared Kusher
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    The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved Jared Kushner's plan to build atop the Puck Building.
    Read more: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20111220/REAL_ESTATE/111229981#ixzz1jpZPRj8K

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  • In Detail> Frick Portico Gallery

    A Beaux-Arts porch transforms into an light-filled exhibition space.
    Davis Brody Bond created a climate-controlled gallery from one of the Frick mansion's open air loggias.
    Paul Rivera
    Davis Brody Bond Architects & Planners with Renfro design Group Balanced on a pedestal at the end of the Frick Collection’s newest gallery, Diana, goddess of the chase, appears to have just leaped back across Fifth Avenue after a little hunting in Central Park. That this late-18th-century statue by Jean-Antoine Houdon was allowed to emerge from storage and strike a pose against an appropriately sylvan backdrop is one of the highlights of a thoughtful renovation led by Davis Brody Bond (DBB). The Portico Gallery for Decorative Arts and Sculpture, the museum’s first new exhibition space in 35 years, was created from a south-facing loggia running along the Frick mansion’s ample front yard. The project came about when a donor’s gift (an extensive collection of porcelain) required additional display space. DBB and former Frick director Anne Poulet decided to take a cue from the 1914 building’s original architect, Thomas Hastings of the firm Carrère and Hastings, who, just after completing Henry Frick’s main house, immediately began sketching up a proposal for a sculpture gallery addition.
       
    Left to Right: Thomas hastings' 1916 drawing for a proposed sculpture gallery at The Frick mansion; a plan of the New Gallery with ITS Bluestone Floor; and a section showing DAvis Brody Bond's new glass curtain wall and ventilation system.  (right).
    Courtesy the frick collection/DBB
     
    Hastings’ scheme went on hold once the United States entered World War I in 1917 and never came to pass due to Frick’s death in 1919. But almost a century later, that plan to create a sculpture gallery connected to the main house led DBB to consider the disused colonnaded loggia, whose decorative limestone relief carving has been fading due to exposure to corrosive exhaust fumes from Fifth Avenue traffic. Part of the original house, the long and narrow 815-square-foot loggia was accessible from the library, but had long been closed to museum goers. The new gallery’s southern orientation means copious amounts of sunlight, an issue for paintings but less so for sculpture and ceramics. “We wanted to maintain the character of an outdoor space,” said DBB partner Carl Krebs, whose team specified low-iron glass panels to fill the spaces between the columns. The panels, some of the largest in production at approximately 14 feet by 7 feet by 2 inches, are cantilevered from below, resting in shoes secured 16 inches below the floor. Framed in bronze and set slightly back from the outmost edge of the loggia’s floor, the glass panels defer to the limestone columns, allowing the space to retain its original appearance both from the interior and the exterior.
       
    LEFT TO RIGHT: Illuminated at night, the Gallery becomes a vitrine for sculpture and ceramics; the modernist Curtain Wall defers to the Loggia's Beaux arts Colonnade; from the Rotunda, Houdon's Diana The Huntress (1776-1795) overlooks the 815-Square-foot gallery.
    Paul Rivera
     
    The loggia’s stone paving was too damaged to be saved, but removing it allowed DBB to install power lines and a radiant heating system below for finely tuned climate control. Ventilation of the space was made easy thanks to a series of existing grates running along the floor of the interior wall, where the gallery’s main display cases are mounted. The grates originally allowed air into servant’s quarters in the basement, and DBB took advantage of the subterranean space to install new air ducts. Lantern-style custom lighting fixtures modeled on those found elsewhere in the house hang from the ceiling of a newly insulated roof; a striking bluestone floor replicates the pattern of the early 20th-century paving, running the length of the gallery and culminating in Diana’s oval rotunda.
    Molly Heintz

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