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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

The Landmarks Preservation Commission indicated this morning that it would probably approve with minor modifications a plan by Hines Interests and Aby Rosen for a new, 36-unit, residential condominium building fronting on Jackson Square at the intersection of Eighth and Greenwich Avenues and 13th Street.

The elegant and modern design for the planned building at 122 Greenwich Avenue is distinguished by multi-faceted, clear-glass facades with windows of different widths that appear to be randomed placed and with floors whose facades undulate differently.

The building does not extend all the way to 14th Street and so its north wall will be blank, but the design by William Pedersen has divided it into three vertical sections to make it more visually interesting.

Hines Interests is one of the nation's major developers whose skyscrapers have revitalized many urban skylines in the United States. Mr. Rosen is an owner of the Seagram Building and Lever House on Park Avenue and a developer of a new mixed-use apartment and hotel tower designed by Sir Norman Foster planned to rise behind the Seagram Building at 610 Lexington Avenue.

Mr. Pedersen is the design partner of Kohn Pedersen Fox, one of the world's foremost architectural firms, whose masterworks include 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, the Shanghai World Financial Center, the Parkhaven Tower in Rotterdam, the Rodin Museum in Seoul, South Korean, Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, and the Westend Strasse 1/DZ Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt.

While best-known for the poetic grace of his skyscrapers, Mr. Pedersen's design is quite modest with a 5-story wing along its frontage on Greenwich Avenue at 13th Street and an 11-story setback tower at its north end. The angled site falls within two zoning districts. The 128-foot-tower at the north end of the angled site has a windowless "party wall" on its north, mid-block facade.

Mr. Pedersen, paraphrasing comments at a previous hearing by the commission by Joseph Giovannini, the architecture critic, told the commission that "modern architecture is always better as an exception than a rule."

Commissioner Roberta Brandes Gratz said that the design was "absolutely the right thing at the time" and "very compelling" and would "accentuate and enhance the district with its contrast, making the historic district more consistent than it really is.

Commissioner Richard Olcott found the design "very beautiful and interesting" and likened it "ribbons in a breeze."

Chairman Robert Tierney observed that he has walked by the "challenging" site for about 40 years and believed the design was "elegant," but asked the developers and architect to work with the commission's staff on some suggestions by some of the commissioners that the south edge and perhaps also the north edge of the glass wall have a little masonry to better interface with neighboring structures.

Numerous community and civic groups have opposed the project, arguing that its design is "inappropriate" to the character of the Greenwich Village Historic District and questioning whether the changing nature of new construction in the area is altering the "context' of "historic districts."

No public speakers were permitted at this meeting. Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, attended the meeting, however, and afterwards told that he "deeply disappointed" that the LPC is inclined to approve a building taller than the zoning allowed and to approve a building which bears so little relationship to the architecture of the Greenwich Village Historic District" and is "so alien in its design and form."
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Additional Info About the Building

Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.