363 Lafayette Finally Makes It to the Starting Gate
UPDATE August 2nd: The final design for 363 Lafayette was approved by the Landmarks Commission on August 2nd, 2016. You can read a full rundown at NY YIMBY. It is improved and will nestle more easily into the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones.
July 18th Post
By the time 363 Lafayette St. (former site of the Jones Diner) appeared before the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC ) on July 12th, the site was in its third iteration, the third being the result of extreme pressure from 20 Bond St. residents and supposedly its most famous tenant.
The first design was an homage to Cast Iron architecture that wrapped around 20 Bond leaving the first four rows of window bays open for 20 Bond St residents, and landscaped a la 41 Bond with cascading greenery.
While LPC, in the end, was not inclined to fiddle much with the last configuration, given the over-explained rationale delivered by Barbara Harris, Esq.,they did finally decide that the view looking from south to north didn’t seem to fit and asked the architect, Morris Adjmi to come back with more ideas about how to make the transition from the one-story on Bond St to the 10 stories on Great Jones St. less contrived and more distinct.
In the meantime SK, Ironstate and the Architect, Morris Adjmi, did listen to the NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders and CB#2 regarding the too horizontal design presented to the Board earlier. They came back with narrower windows, more black terracotta elements and windows matching up floor to floor. The switch to pale grey hand-laid brick helped, too.
While the overall effect looked much less bulky on the Great Jones St Side…though maybe a little less pleasing along the long Lafayette St. side, the issue was really the one-story sliver along the wall of 20 Bond St. This concession to 20 Bond’s lot line windows, as well as the sliver of open space at the rear of 20 Bond (to preserve light for their rear windows as well) has given Adjmi and the developers a nearly impossible aesthetic and contextual challenge…the result of which NoHo will have to live with long after the current inhabitants of 20 Bond have dismantled their studios and sold off their holdings.
The rationale delivered by a most respected Elise Quasbarth, was that the design preserved the history of a block destroyed when Lafayette St. was to replace Elm St in 1905. We’re not so sure that preserving the perspective of an obliterated block is the way to go here, though we respect Ms Quasbarth’s grasp of architectural history.
You can read a pretty full account on NY Yimby
GVSHP also spoke up as did The Historic Districts Council about the design, at 363 Lafayette.
We are very hopeful that Mr. Adjmi’s considerable talent and SK Developments extraordinary good neighbor policy will yield the right solution.