Wednesday, February 06, 2008

No Action on Domino's Big Glass Box

View from East River Park The New Domino credit Vinoly x528
[Image courtesy of Rafael Vinoly Architects]

The Landmarks Preservation Commission heard testimony about the five-story glass box developers propose to put atop the historic Domino Factory in Williamsburg yesterday, but took no action on the plan. It will hold another session in a few weeks. The Williamsburg-Greenpoint Preservation Alliance's blog said that the LPC commissioners didn't seem inclined to support such a big addition to the top of the landmarked structure:
The comments that we did hear from the Commissioners made it clear that none of the Commissioners are ready to stand up and support a five-story rooftop addition on the refinery. Some Commissioners seemed to be comfortable with an addition of two or possibly three stories, assuming that such an addition was more architecturally integrated with the historic refinery and the rest of the new development.
Preservationists delivered the most negative reviews of the alteration. The Municipal Art Society's Lisa Kersavage called the plan a "missed opportunity to create something that celebrates the history and architecture of these landmarks." The developers said that the addition is necessary for the project to succeed, while the architect likened it to the Tate Modern in London. Ms. Kersavage and other seemed to take issue with the Tate analogy. "As designed the proposed glass box addition, plunked on top of the landmark, is simply too large and lacks the compositional organization and the arrangement of details that would relate it to the landmark," Ms. Kersavage said. "The architects referenced the Tate Modern’s addition in their presentation to us, but that low-slung and horizontally oriented building has a completely different spatial volume and composition than the Refinery - and that addition is architecturally a much better fit."

Meanwhile, Mary Habstritt of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint Preservation Alliance said:
While believe that there are many positive aspects to this proposal, the project does not come together as a cohesive whole. The various components - the rooftop addition, new windows, new window openings, masonry repairs, bay windows and balconies, storefronts and entries - all seem to be unrelated to one another. And in too many cases, they are unrelated to the historic refinery itself. This brand new landmark deserves a more comprehensive preservation approach.
Commissioners were also said to have appeared skeptical about some other modifications to the building, including the design of proposed retail entrances. Landmarks Chair Robert Tierney strongly urged the developers to find a way to preserve the iconic Domino Sugar sign, which is not included in renderings that have been released. His advice about finding a place for the sign: "Look hard." Since the plant was landmarked last year, the Commission has to approve any changes.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary's comments Reminds me of that modern tower Howard Roark proposes. The board suggests a few changes and slaps on awnings, balconies and a gingerbread cornice. The glass box..must...go.

8:43 AM  

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