New designs of the six-story, 34,000 square foot building on the intersection of Broadway and Spring Street in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District in New York City led Commissioner Fred Bland to proclaim it as the most exciting building proposed during his tenure.
The proposal, designed by BKSK Architects, sits on a $147.9 million site purchased in December of 2012 by prominent developers, setting a per-buildable-square-foot record for SoHo retail. Their early intent of demolishing the existing building and constructing a new one garnered significant opposition. That is, till they revealed what was to replace it.
Reminiscent of the original 19th century hotel that preceded it, the new building's facade pays homage to the past and present in one parametric swoop. In elevation, the heavy terracotta facade gradually morphs, becoming less dense as it approaches the far end of the building, transitioning almost completely into vision glass held by thin mullion details.
In a time in which buildings aspire to be classically designed or defiantly modern, the design for 529 Broadway sits somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, it respects the peculiar character that makes the streets of SoHo unique by maintaining a traditional cast iron aesthetic. On the other, it embraces architectural refinement by allowing the facade to be freed from its pre-modern material and technological limitations. What results is a new architectural chivalry, opening the door for a synthesis between history and technology.
What do you think of the new proposal for 529 Broadway? Is this building a good neighbor? Let us know in the comments below.