LPC to Domino: Not Yet
The Landmarks Preservation Commission finally held part 2 of the Domino hearing this morning. Community Preservation Corporation reiterated its case, that this addition was necessary for the lofty goals of the overall project. Beyer Blinder Belle, architect for the addition, compared their design to not only the Tate Modern, but also the Morgan Library and the Hearst Tower. Even Rafael Viñoly was there in person to make the case for the overall project. Councilmember Diana Reyna gave the only public testimony, in favor of the large addition.
And then the Commissioners had their say.
In a nutshell, the majority of the Commissioners felt that addition was too tall and that it was not the the right design for this building. A couple of Commissioners were OK with the general height of the addition, but not the design. In terms of design, there seemed to be a consensus that this design was too "tame" and did not reflect the character or strength of the landmark itself. Some Commissioners encouraged the architects to be "more visionary" and to emphasize the "industrial rigor" of the landmark. NONE of the Commissioners said no addition whatsover. ALL of the Commissioners thought that the 3-story bulkheads had to go. (And no one was buying the Tate Modern comparison.)
As for the rest of the project, the Commissioners largely echoed WGPA's comments there too. They liked the concept of the windows on the south wall echoing the conveyor bridges, but thought the current solution was also too tame. The storefronts and ground floor entries were called "unconsidered" - a position we also wholly agree with.
In the end, no vote was taken. CPC was asked to go back to the drawing board and take the comments into account. Given that some of the comments were at cross purposes, they have a job cut out for themselves. In the end, though, the Commissioners did the right thing - Williamsburg deserves a better design that what CPC has brought forward to date.
We look forward to seeing more.