Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony
79-81 Charles Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
Two French Second Empire style row houses designed by William H. Hume and built in 1866. Application is to combine the buildings, construct rooftop and rear yard additions, and excavate the cellar and rear yard.
Architect: Steven Harris Architects
HDC finds the massing of this rear yard extension to be appropriate in scale and context. However, we find the single ribbon of glass along the garden elevation to be inappropriate as it does nothing to suggest the fact that the buildings were formerly separate, and are now combined. We believe the architect could develop a scheme that achieves the undoubtedly desired visual connection to the garden while somehow acknowledging the original separation.
Action: Unanimously Approved
We note that this building dates to 1834 and is built on landfill, which would make any excavation dangerous, and if inexpertly handled, catastrophic. We appreciate that this applicant has been deeply thorough and conscientious in their excavation plans, and we feel this level of care and rigor should serve as a baseline for any applicant wishing to do excavation work. LPC must enforce this level of compliance in every application. Instead, the Commission has allowed more than a dozen landmarked buildings, including 10 in Greenwich Village, to be demolished over the past year alone, due to negligence and illegal work. We plan to submit to the LPC a more detailed list of recommendations we believe could help to stop this alarming trend.
Action: No Action