A 19th century home on the Upper West Side is on its way into the 21st Century. Last Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved modifications to the structure at 347 West End Avenue.
The four-story-tall structure sits between West 76th Street and West 77th Street, in the relatively small West End – Collegiate Historic District, which was designated in 1984. It was designed by the firm of Lamb and Rich and built in 1891. The commission defines its architectural style as Eclectic Renaissance/Revival.
The plan is to take it from a nine-unit apartment building back to its origin as a single-unit residential structure. The modifications are being handled by architect Matthew Bremmer of Chelsea-based Architecture in Formation PC.
A set back fifth floor will be built, with an elevator overrun, roof bulkhead, and copper and glass skylight atop it. The current three-story-tall projecting rear yard addition will be demolished and replaced with a four-story-tall rear yard addition. A Juliette balcony, clad in copper, will jut out just into the canopy of a 130- to 140-year-old cherry tree.
To accomplish some of that, the roof height will be increased with new terra cotta panels. It will match the height of the roof at its twin to the north – 349 West End Avenue. There will also be what Bremmer described as “nominal” repair work on the front façade.
Other than asking for clarification of some details, the members of the commission had very little to say. LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said what was presented was a “very restrained proposal” that captures the vocabulary of the rear yard.
Currently, the rear yard addition is mirrored, at least structurally, by the one at 349 West End Avenue, and the Historic Districts Council was not happy about losing that. “HDC wishes to make a plea for the retention of the rear configuration that this building shares with its twin next door,” testified HDC’s Barbara Zay. “The unified rear on these two buildings appears to be a formal construct that would be a shame to lose.”
Sean Khorsandi of Landmark West! said the proposal was a “thoughtful response” that “will be a good fit in the district.” However, he wanted no visibility.
Josette Amato of the West End Preservation Society also called for the addition to be invisible, and said there was too much glass at the top.
Jay Adolf of Manhattan Community Board 7 said the board initially opposed the proposal, but revisions won them over, though they haven’t been able to officially vote on that approval.
In then end, the commissioners approved the proposal unanimously. However, the applicant was asked to work with LPC staff to further reduce the size of the roof bulkhead.
View the full presentation slides here: