Slanted tower studied next to landmark firehouse
April 16, 2007
Plans for a very dramatic, 19-story, slanting tower at the rear of the former firehouse at 87 Lafayette Street appeared today in a posting on the Internet.
The plans were developed by Young Woo & Associates and renderings of the tower are on the website of Lot-ek, an architectural firm, and appeared in a posting today on wirednewyork.com.
Baptiste Thevenon, an architect with Lot-ek, told CityRealty.com today that the design was for a 19-story artists' loft building with a one-story commercial base. He said that his understanding was that the owner of the adjoining property over which the slanting tower would cantilever was seeking an agreement with the owner of the firehouse for development of its air-rights.
The adjoining property is 93-99 Lafayette Street, which is part of a property lot that also includes 103-109 Walker Street and 139 Centre Street.
Young Woo & Associates and Angelo, Gordon & Co., acquired the 177,000-square-foot former headquarters of Globix Corporation at 139 Centre Street last year for about $55 million.
At the time of the sale, Mark Friedman, executive managing director of GVA Williams said that "with the building's location bordering Chinatown and TriBeCa, there is enormous excitement in the Asian community about the possibilities for the site" that has a development potential of 230,000 square feet and is supposed to be delivered vacant in May. "It is suitable for conversions to condominiums, hotel, or other high-end uses that are in short supply," Mr. Friedman maintained.
Mr. Woo told CityRealty.com today that he has "failed" to obtain an agreement yet with the owner of the firehouse, adding that he has a "good relationship" with the owner.
The 17,000-square-foot firehouse, old Engine 31's quarters, which was erected circa 1895 in French chateau-style atop the former swamp Collect Pond, is occupied by the Downtown Community TV Center of which Jon Alpert and his wife, Keiko Tsuno, are principals.
The firehouse, which is on the northeast corner at White Street, is a New York City landmark so a certificate of appropriateness would most likely be sought from the Landmarks Preservation Commission for any development on any part of its site.
The slant is very dramatic and somewhat similar to the angles used by the late Philip Johnson for a pair of office buildings in Spain several years ago.
Mr. Woo said that he had become very interested in plans developed by Lot-ek (which stands for "low-tech") employing large metal shipping containers. He said he considered their use in residential construction "fascinating" and "environmentally friendly."
Mr. Woo's company is the developer of the residential condominium tower planned for 200 Eleventh Avenue at 24th Street that will have 16 apartments of which 14 will have their own 1-car garage space that measures 20 feet nine inches by 12 feet within the apartment.
The garage "rooms" may be the building's most unusual feature, but its most visible feature will be its unusual facade that its website maintains was inspired in part by neighboring industrial lots. The building's facade has a base that will clad in gunmetal glazed terracotta while the setback tower will be clad in brushed stainless steel that the website states "takes on organic curves while reflecting the area's industrial past.
Youngwoo & Associates, which is also involved in the Chelsea Arts Tower, a 20-story, commercial condominium building nearing completion nearby on West 25th Street.
Annabelle Selldorf is the architect for 200 Eleventh Avenue.
The Lot-ek scheme for 87 Lafayette Street apparently employs stacking the containers with staircases at the north and south ends and also calls for some containers to protrude randomly on the west facade. The building's slant begins at the third floor on White Street and the sixth floor on the north side. The roof of the slanted tower would have an array of solar panels.