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

Carter's View

The design of the 8-story residential condominium building under construction at 166 Perry Street by Asymptote is the latest wrinkle in the city's new crop of buildings with unusual facade treatments.

The project is being developed by Charles Blaichman, Richard Born and Ira Drucker, the developers of two of the three 16-story, modernist glass towers designed by Richard Meier along West Street in the Far West Village.

The building at 166 Perry Street, which is around the corner from the Meier buildings, will have 26 apartments, according to documents on file with the Department of Buildings.

The developers were in the process of adding two stories to an existing 6-story garage structure on the site when the City Council voted October 13, 2005 to rezone the permissible size of new buildings in the neighborhood.

The Board of Standards & Appeals unanimously approved January 31, 2006 the lifting of a stop-work order by the Department of Buildings on a renovation of and two-story addition to a six-story building at 164-173 Perry Street in the Far West Village.

In its submission to the board, the Perry Street Development Corporation argued for the renewal of the "lawfully issued building permit issued before the effective date of the map change to the Zoning Maps and maintained that its "irrevocable financial commitment" for the project was "$1,864,488. Its site fronts for 100 feet on Perry Street and 100 feet one inch on Charles Lane.

Construction on it and another nearby development at 163 Charles Street was stopped when neighborhood groups complained that the developers should have been aware of a rezoning of the area that would lower their permissible size.

At 163 Charles Street, Barry Leistner was building a 8-story building designed by Daniel Goldner Architects with a triplex and two duplex apartments and ground floor commercial space. That project was also approved a year ago by the Board of Standards & Appeals.

Renderings of the Asymptote design appeared "US, Architecture in the United States," by Philip Jodidio, published last month by Taschen, which just opened a bookstore on Greene Street in SoHo.

Mr. Jodidio noted in his book that Asymptote, which is headed by Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture, calls its project "Surfaced Space." He provides a quote from Rashid that the design "is in many ways simultaneously antidotal as it is a formal and tectonic playing off of the Meier projects." "More specifically, he continues, 'Asymptote's approach primarily emerged from a surge for an apropos musical assembly of glass and geometry whereby a play of reflections, atmosphere and surface produce an envelope of effects that would weld the disparities of brick, ornament and stoops with glass, smoothness and constant plays of surface and space, resulting in another definition of elegance possibly transcending that of the high modernist traditions and minimalist aspirations expressed in the adjacent towers and the quaintness and scale of domesticity that the building is situated in.'"

Mr. Jodidio, one of the leading documenters of contemporary architecture, observed that "the flowing lines typical of their designs are most visible near the entrance" and that "the lower floors of the building stand out from the main block and give both a certain transparency and a feeling of movement to the structure."

The building's facade on Perry Street will have corner windows and most of the windows are alternately angled and vertically inverted to create a highly reflective "weave."

The building's curved entrance walls are tucked under an angled marquee. There is a setback at the sixth floor. Its east and west facades do not undulate and closely resemble the fenestration pattern of the Meier buildings.
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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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