The building in 1905, via MCNY
This morning, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) designated the former IRT Powerhouse (now the Con Ed Powerhouse) at 12th Avenue and 59th Street an official New York City landmark. The Beaux-Arts style building, designed in 1904 by McKim, Mead & White, is considered a remarkable example of the style applied to a utilitarian building. It was bestowed with such grandeur to convince the public to embrace the subway, a newly-created transportation option at the time. The monumental building not only powered the city’s the first subway line but upon completion 111 years ago it was the largest powerhouse in the world.
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Domino Sugar Refinery rendering via Practice of Architectural Urbanism
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission approved on Tuesday a project to redesign the iconic 19th century Domino Sugar Factory building in Williamsburg into a modern office space. While the proposal from Vishaan Chakrabarti’s Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) was first rejected by the commission in October, during the hearing Tuesday, LPC said the revised design “sets the landmark free.” Overall, the commissioners were enthusiastic about the retention of part of the original building, giving credit to PAU’s “novel and creative approach.”
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This morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to calendar the postmodern skyscraper at 550 Madison Avenue, designed by Philip Johnson and completed in 1984. The world’s first skyscraper built in a postmodern style was originally known as the AT&T Building, as the tower served as the company headquarters. Sony moved in in the 1990s, giving it the nickname of the Sony Tower.
Last year, the building sold to the Olayan Group and Chelsfield for a whopping $1.4 billion. Their resulting renovation plan, led by Snøhetta, has elicited protest from preservationists who do not want to see changes to the building’s impressive arched entryway. Now that the tower’s calendared, the developers’ $300 million renovation will eventually come up for a landmarks vote by the LPC.
See renderings of Snøhetta’s proposal
Image: Landmarks Preservation Commission
Shortly after Roman Abramovich added a fourth Upper East Side townhouse to his now-$96-million assemblage on East 75th Street, the Russian billionaire’s three-house, 18,000-square-foot mega-mansion plans changed ever so slightly, with renovation efforts to be concentrated on numbers 9, 11 and 13, leaving number 15 out of the running for the mega-combo. As 6sqft previously reported, the steel magnate and owner of the Chelsea Football Club has been working with architect Steven Wang with big-name firm Herzog & de Meuron as a design consultant. The first proposal for the project, “an 18,255-square-foot mansion with a six-foot front yard, 30-foot backyard, and pool in the cellar” was rejected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the DOB in April 2016, but a revised plan was approved two months later. Tweaked again to include the new property, the revised plan has been officially approved on Tuesday by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
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To commemorate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in New York State, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission released an interactive story map that highlights places where suffragists lived and worked in New York City. The map, called NYC Landmarks and the Vote at 100, designates 43 sites associated with impactful activists, organizations, and institutions. Explore significant sites like the Cooper Union, the Panhellenic Tower, the New School for Social Research and much more, while learning about their role in the suffrage movement.
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Just a week after the pair of buildings at 827-831 Broadway was landmarked, not only for their cast-iron architecture but for their long cultural history that most notably includes serving as home to world-famous artist Willem de Kooning, the developer/owner has put forth a proposal for a four-story prismatic glass addition and landscaped roof terrace. Though the architects at DXA Studio say the modern topper’s reflectivity is representative of two phases of de Kooning’s work–his 1960s rural and pastoral landscapes as seen through the reflection of surrounding plantings and his late 1950s urban landscapes through the building reflections–local groups are not so convinced.
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, Thu, September 21, 2017
827-831 Broadway today via Wiki Commons (L); Willem de Kooning in his Fourth Avenue studio, April 1946. Harry Bowden, photographer. Harry Bowden papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.Via The Willem de Kooning Foundation. (R)
Underneath the lyrical and much-admired sherbet-colored facades of the twin lofts at 827-831 Broadway lies a New York tale like no other. Incorporating snuff, sewing machines, and cigar store Indians; Abstract Expressionists; and the “antique dealer to the stars,” it also involves real estate and big money, and the very real threat of the wrecking ball. Ahead, explore the one-of-a-kind past of these buildings, which most notably served as the home to world-famous artist Willem de Kooning, and learn about the fight to preserve them not only for their architectural merit but unique cultural history.
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102 Bedford Street in 2015 (left) via Wiki Commons, and as of today, via GVSHP
Few buildings capture the whimsy, flamboyance, and bohemian spirit of early 20th century Greenwich Village as does the building known as “Twin Peaks” at 102 Bedford Street. Described as a “wonderfully ludicrous mock half-timbered fantasy row-house castle” by architecture critic Paul Goldberger, the present incarnation of the building was born in 1925 as a radical remodeling of an 1830 rowhouse into a five-story artists’ studio apartment building. In the mid 20th-century, the building became even more iconic with a cream and brown paint job that mimicked its Alpine cottage inspiration. However, a more recent paint job stripped away this history, resulting in a controversial landmarks battle.
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In May, State Senators Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger drafted a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission asking them to designate the Rose Main Reading Room (one of the largest uncolumned interior spaces in the world) and the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room at the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 5th Avenue as interior landmarks. Though the LPC has been criticized in the past for their backlog of potential landmarks, they quickly put the request on their schedule and just this morning voted unanimously in favor of the designations, which protect the spaces’ murals, decorative plasterwork, metal and woodwork, light fixtures, windows, doors, balconies, built-in bookcases, and decorative elements.
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Rose Main Reading room via NYPL
State Senators Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger have asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library’s main branch and the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room at the 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue branch as interior landmarks, according to DNAInfo. The library’s main branch, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, was given landmark designation in 1967 and Astor Hall and the grand staircases within the building were designated as interior landmarks in 1974. Interior landmark designation would give the two reading rooms–favorites of literary greats including Norman Mailer, E.L. Doctorow and Elizabeth Bishop–the same protection moving forward.
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