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Carter's View

It's a shame this is not a free-standing building for the rear facade promises to be perhaps even more interesting and dramatic than the handsome front facade.

Marketing has begun for the 9-story residential condominium project at 31-33 Vestry Street.

The project, which is now known as V33, has been designed by Winka Dubbeldam, who set the city's architecture buffs astir with her first project, 497 Greenwich Street in which she cascaded an 11-story undulating green glass facade over the top of an old loft 6-story building.

The December 2004 issue of Esquire magazine featured her among its "best and brightest" stars in architecture, highlighting her next venture, then known as the "Vestry Street Project," at 31-33 Vestry Street in TriBeCa. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission was not entirely enchanted, however, when the 9-story project came up for review in 2005.

Dubbeldam, whose architecture firm is known as Archi-tectonics, went back to the drafting boards and the commission unanimously approved the project. The Dutch-born architect's revisions that swept away their prior reservations were changing the angled facade of the top two, setback floors to perpendicular, moving the setback ground floor closer to the building line and lowering the building's height from 116 to 111 feet.

Her building will have a facade of soft gray colored glass, translucent stone and stone-glass laminate with a "notch" setback at the fourth floor and a strong horizontal motif.

The rear facade of the building, however, is very different as the rendering at the right indicates.

The building, which is on the former site of a parking lot on the cobblestone street just to the west of Hudson Street, will have 7 condominium units.

Charles Dunne, vice president of facilities at ImClone, is the developer with Andreas Kaublisch. Mr. Dunne and Sam Waksal, the former ImClone chief who was convicted of insider trading, converted the Roebling Building at 169 Hudson Street into a condo.

In the Esquire article, Dubbeldam was quoted as stating that "We want to offer two things to the street, to the people outside: large stone volumes by day, suspended and open, the light moving inward; and at night, giant hunks of light from the lofts inside, warm and glowing," adding that "It's a city warmth I want, one that moves both ways - to and from the streets."

The architect provides the following commentary about the building on its website:

"On the ground floor, the facade bends inward to create a neutral zone that softens the transition from streetscape to a residential enclave... I dream about fluid spaces, seamless surfaces and cloudy translucence; my visions of built structures seem to dematerialize architecture rather than validate it....I'm obsessed by flowing surfaces and sleek structures. I like body-conscious buildings. Is it any surprise that I considered fashion before becoming an architect?"

Of the Vestry Street facade, she commented that she "layered stone panels at varying depths and stacked them on fractured sight lines creating subtle gradations that break down the facade's linearity completely." "Urban architecture," she continued, "has to have a sense of movement that reflects the pace of life around it. We think of a building as a fixed structure, but in reality, it's always changing and reacting to the weather, the pace of the city and the activities of the people who live in it."

Each apartment has a 5-foot-wide gas burning fireplace with Pompei stone hearth.

The building will have a 24-hour doorman.

The rear facade of the building is slightly angled.

A "townhouse unit with three bedrooms, three baths, two powder rooms and 1 parking space is priced at $11,900,000. It has 4,176 square feet of interior space and 1,000 square feet of exterior space.
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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.
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