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The Landmarks Preservation Commission held a hearing today on an application for an interesting, narrow, 13-story hotel at 26 Great Jones Street on a site that extends through the block to 22 Bond Street.

A new design for the project by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson calls for its north and south facades to be faced with perforated stainless steel scrim etched with botanical shapes. The mid-block site is just to the east of a vacant lot where BKSK Architects have designed a 6-story, modern hotel building for Olmstead Properties at 363 Lafayette Street and the former site of the Jones Diner and next door to the studio of famous artist Chuck Close who has been concerned about losing his light.

The Smith-Miller + Hawkinson design for Louis Greco will be notable not just for its sliver size and scrim facades that are reminiscent of the scrim clouds on the balconies of HighLine 519 on West 23rd Street, but also for its 30-foot high wobbly picket fence on Bond Street where it is just to the west of the gold-colored figures inhabiting the facade of 24 Bond Street near the sprawling graffiti gates of 40 Bond Street designed by Herzog & Meuron.

Bond Street between the Bowery and Lafayette has become the city's prize architecture Street as it also contains BKSK's robustly and handsomely brutalistic 25 Bond Street, Deborah Berke's elegant and modern 48 Bond Street and Meltzer/Mandl Architects' curved and modern 57 Bond Street for Alchemy Properties across the street from the flamboyant former Bouwerie Lane Theater building designed by Harry Engelbert in 1874 on the northwest corner of Bond Street and the Bowery at 54 Bond Street, which is also known at 330 Bowery. Alan Gordon is the owner of 54 Bond Street and he also recently acquired a site across the street at 41-43 Bond Street where he has commissioned an 8-unit residential condominium building designed with metal shutters by Steven Harris.

The Smith-Miller + Hawkinson design was shown at a community board meeting last week and is distinguished by the fact that some of its pickets are not equally separated horizontally and appear to be nuzzling some of their neighbors, which given the architecturally rambunctious nature of the block, and the recent cold weather, is not surprising.

According to a October 9, 2009 article at, Community Board 2 got the developers of 25 Great Jones Street to agree to not use the rooftop, have no terraces, close its tapas bar at 2 AM, close its signature restaurant run by Oliver Todd at midnight and have it agree not to accept reservations for parties greater than 20. Furthermore, the number of guests per floor cannot exceed 15 although the Department of Buildings allows 30 and "there can be no amplified sound in any exterior space" and the hotel must meet with the community on a monthly basis.

The Historic Districts Council submitted a statement to the commission today that declared that the project is not only "inappropriate for the NoHo Historic District, but also an example of what not to do in any historic district or neighborhood."

"The building," the council's statement continued, "breaks the street wall on both sides with huge setbacks and then adds insult to injury with a jagged brutalist fence and bamboo, neither of which have any relation to the district....The result is a structure that sticks out like a sore thumb, or another finger, on the block....Although no where near the ideal solution, HDC suggests that the skin be brought out to the street wall for the height of the adjacent buildings in order to basically hide what has been built behind."

The existing structure has been topped out but not filled in and was erected "as-of-right" before the area became an historic district. H. Thomas O'Hara was the first architect and was succeeded by TKA and Smith-Miller + Hawkinson was brought in only recently and in the words of Rokas a commenter at "inherited a very tricky problem."
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.