66 North 1st Street
We've been watching the rehabilitation of 66 North 1st Street for a couple years now, with a mix of hope and trepidation. The building (between Kent and Wythe) started life as a three-story industrial building (most recently occupied by Newco Ironworks). The three-story addition clearly has its tumorous qualities, but its also not just a box plopped on top of an old building. Yes, it overwhelms the base (hence the trepidation), but the setback and skewing of the footprint lessens the impact (hence the hope). The restoration of the base building was done very well, so if the rest of the project proceeded with something approaching sensitivity, there was cause for hope. Its not going to be "Landmarks" quality, but it might be something.
But God is in the details, and either the architect (Bob Scarano's workshop) or the developer was clearly not paying attention to the details. The first signs of true ham-fistedness were noted by Gowanus Lounge last November. As Guskind noted then, the side wall detail completely obliterates the distinction between new and old. Instead of a dialog between the two, as at the front of the building, the addition just swallows up the base. Not a promising development.
Now that the building is more or less complete, we thinks its time to declare the whole thing a failure. To be generous, maybe whoever designed the addition had nothing to do with the ground floor. But whoever designed the ground floor deserves to lose their license to design. The old base was nothing special, just a couple of drive in entries with roll down gates. The new base, though is a poorly executed applique of cheap aluminum panels, that completely ruins any chance this project had of coming off well design-wise. On top of that, the workmanship is completely atrocious, with misaligned panels and fat caulk joints. If this is any indication of the quality of workmanship on the project, it doesn't bode well for anyone buying one of the 21 units in the building.
An interesting idea, killed by lack of design follow through and pathetic workmanship. Sometimes its better just to demolish a building.