HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 17, 2016

HDC regularly reviews every public proposal affecting Individual Landmarks and buildings within Historic Districts in New York City, and when needed, we comment on them. Our testimony for the latest items to be presented at the Landmarks Preservation Commission is below.

 

Item 2

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN

179343 – Block 1083, lot 69

563 5th Street – Park Slope Historic District

A neo-Classical style rowhouse designed by Axel Hedman and built c. 1907-08. Application is to enlarge a rear yard addition.

HDC would not object to an enlargement of this rear yard addition, but finds the butterfly-shaped roof to be too eye-catching, especially since the addition is visible through an alleyway. To avoid setting a precedent with this odd roof form, perhaps the applicant could investigate a flat roof for the addition.

LPC determination: Approved

563 5th Street

Item 5

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

180436 – Block 592, lot 22

353 6th Avenue – Greenwich Village Historic District

A brick rowhouse built in 1829. Application is to replace storefront infill, construct a rooftop addition and modify the rear façade.

HDC finds the storefront infill and rooftop addition to be very sensitive, and is glad to see that the metal shutters on the upper floors of the rear façade will be restored. However, our committee felt that the second – or bottom – floor of the rear scheme lacks consistency with the quality of the rest of the design. The rear façade’s three-bay rhythm of punched openings should be maintained throughout in order to avoid an awkward resolution on the bottom floor. We also fear that punching large holes into the bottom of this historic masonry wall might be dangerous to the structure.

LPC determination: Approved

353 6th Avenue
353 6th Avenue-shutters
 

Item 9

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

169554 – Block 525, lot 58

92 West Houston Street – South Village Historic District

A Federal style rowhouse built c. 1828 and altered in 1925. Application is to install an awning.

HDC feels that a new awning should play with the existing geometry of the façade, rather than introducing a new shape. This awning looks out of place here.

LPC determination: Approved

92 West Houston Street
 

Item 12

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

179049 – Block 717, lot 64

440 West 20th Street – Chelsea Historic District

An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1853-54. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

There are sensitive ways to expand rowhouses, and we have seen many heard by this Commission, but these proposed expansions do not rise to the level of being appropriate. There is significant loss of historic fabric in the rear, including the loss of stone lintels, and we ask for a redesign that retains some of this original masonry.The rear façade has the appearance of several different projects happening simultaneously, perhaps exhibiting a lack of internal design consistency. Our committee had a hard time understanding the functional reason for extending the stair to the roof, and finds the bulkhead to be unnecessarily tall. Perhaps the stair bulkhead could come down a bit and the rear of the rooftop addition pushed back farther from the floor below, so as not to overwhelm the house.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications (work with staff to make the rooftop addition and bulkhead as minimally visible as feasible)

440 West 20th Street
 

Item 17

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

184635 – Block 823, lot 37

162 Fifth Avenue – Ladies’ Mile Historic District

A Beaux-Arts style store and loft building designed by Buchman & Fox and built in 1903. Application is to install entrance infill, a marquee, and rooftop mechanical equipment.

HDC asks that more consideration be given to retaining the form of the existing canopy on the south elevation, which, if not original, has been there since at least the 1920s. The new entrance infill should work within the existing geometry found underneath the canopy that is there, which itself should be restored or replaced in kind, if need be. The proposed modern bronze canopies appear quite common, lacking distinction in comparison with the historic, utilitarian canopy. 

LPC determination: Approved

162 Fifth Avenue-existing
162 Fifth Avenue-proposed

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