A NoHo lot is on its way to getting a new 10-story-tall office building designed by prolific architect Morris Adjmi. On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the revised proposal for such a structure at 363 Lafayette Street.
The strangely-shaped lot occupies the entire street front from Great Jones Street to Bond Street, in the NoHo Historic District Extension, which was designated in 2008.
The original proposal was presented on July 12 and, like that one, the one presented on August 2 called for a 10-story office building with a showroom on the ground floor and community facility space on the second floor and part of the third floor.
The previous design featured five two-story sections, each set back from the previous. The commissioners were not sold on it, for a variety of reasons, including the double-height sections and resolution of the corner.
This revised proposal was introduced by land use attorney Valerie Campbell of Kramer Levin, who reminded the commissioners that the proposal is still as-of-right.
Then preservation consultant Elise Quasebarth of Higgins Quasebarth & Partners took over, calling the revised design one of overall reduced scale. The new design has the Great Jones Street side straight and uses the Lafayette Street side to achieve floor-by-floor setbacks, angled towards Bond Street. She said the design team “strengthened [the] corner, using it as a pivot” to create “dynamic slicing” and “more graceful proportions.”
Design architect Morris Adjmi got into some of the details. Among them, each setback is 15 inches and the sections between floors, still featuring a basket weave pattern, have been extended from two feet to three. Terra cotta will still be one of the big materials used in the construction.
Commissioner Frederick Bland mused that it’s a “terrible thing for a committee to nit pick [an architect’s work] to pieces” and was happy with Adjmi’s revisions. He especially liked the single-story focus, as compared to the two-story sections of the previously presented design.
Commissioner Michael Devonshire said the new design is “beautiful” and resolved the corner issue with which the commissioners struggled last time.
LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said it will be a great addition to the neighborhood.
Commissioner Michael Goldblum was sad that the revised design lost some of the rhythm of its predecessor. He called the revised design “hypertextual.” Still he said it was “totally appropriate” and actually “kinda neat.”
Commissioner Jeanne Lutfy called the revised design “beautiful” and “smart” and said it was stronger without the double-height sections.
“I’m happy and I thank the applicant,” said Commissioner Kim Vauss.
Commissioner Wellington Chen, on the other hand, said he would have preferred to see how the two-story sections of the original would have worked out.
In the end, the commissioners, unanimously, approved the proposal.
View the presentation slides here: