Obit> Lenore Norman, 1929-2012

East, Newsletter
Friday, December 28, 2012
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The Villard Houses on Madison Avenue were one of Lenore Norman's first projects at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. (Andrea Puggioni/Flickr)

The Villard Houses on Madison Avenue were one of Lenore Norman’s first projects at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. (Andrea Puggioni/Flickr)

Lenore Norman, a pioneer of historic preservation, died at 83 years old in her home on the Upper West Side on December 21st. She spent over 4 decades working tirelessly to preserve some of New York’s most iconic buildings and historic districts. Ms. Norman first stepped into her role as the executive director of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the mid-1970s—a time when the idea of landmark preservation was fairly new and unpopular among some New Yorkers.

“The whole idea of preservation was not something that people really understood, and of course, all of the larger institutions and buildings, for the most part, fought it,” said Ms. Norman in an interview for The New York Preservation Archive Project.

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MAS Proposes 17 Midtown East Landmarks to Avoid “Out With The Old, In With The New”

East
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Yale Club.

Yale Club. (Courtesy MAS)

In response to the New York City Department of City Planning’s proposal to rezone Midtown East, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) has asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to give landmark status to 17 buildings in the 78-block area concentrated around Grand Central Terminal. It is a last ditch effort to preserve several prominent structures—with styles ranging Beaux Arts and Renaissance Revival to Neo-Gothic and Mid-Century Modern—before Midtown gets the green light to raze old structures and erect new (and taller) buildings that provide modern features for tenants who “want open space plans” wrote the DCP in its proposal. The New York Times described the re-zoning as part of the Bloomberg administration’s vision to re-vamp midtown and turn it into a more competitive business district.

Some notable buildings that have made MAS’ list include the New York Health & Racquet Club in Gothic Revival Style, the Graybar Building with Art Deco accents, the Neo-Gothic Swedish Seamen’s Church, and the Yale Club noted for its neo-classical façade.

Check the full list after the jump.

LPC Approves Plans for Governors Island.  Pentagram's Welcome Wall at Soissons Landing. (Courtesey West 8) In a unanimous decision, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the first phase of plans by the Trust for Governors Island to restore and revamp the island. The vision includes a paisley-like landscape by West 8 on the terrace in front of McKim, Mead and White designed Liggett Hall. Way-finding by Pentagram and lighting by Susan Tillotson also made the cut. For a detailed breakdown of the designs click here.

 

Grand Concourse Discourse: Rosenblum on a New Landmark

East
Friday, October 28, 2011
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The Bronx County Courthouse falls within the new district. (Lehman College Art Gallery/Stoelker)

The Bronx County Courthouse sits within the new district. (Lehman College Art Gallery/Stoelker)

Shortly after the Landmarks Preservation Commission declared a section of the Grand Concourse an historic district on Tuesday, New York Times columnist Constance Rosenblum  received a call with the news. Walking down Montague Street near her home in Brooklyn Heights, the usually unflappable writer burst into tears. When it comes to the Concourse, Rosenblum wrote the book. Her 2010 chronicle of the corridor, Boulevard of Dreams (NYU Press, $20), played a significant role in calling attention to the plight and promise of the neighborhood. “It was notable day,” she said in a phone interview in reference to the announcement. “It wasn’t easy for the Bronx, and the stigmas will remain for a long time.”

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LPC Approves Plans for Ol’ O’Toole

East
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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The latest renderings show restored executive offices atop the building as well the cantilevered form below. (Courtesy Perkins Eastman)

The latest renderings show restored executive offices with the cantilevered form below. (Courtesy Perkins Eastman)

After a protracted land use review with vitriolic community meetings that disquieted even battle-hardened presenters, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved plans by the Rudin development family and North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical to renovate the St. Vincent’s O’Toole building in Manhattan’s West Village. As of Tuesday, the former Maritime Union headquarters is set to become a comprehensive health care facility with emergency services.

Continue reading after the jump.

LPC Approves Adjmi’s Concrete Riff on Cast Iron

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
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Detail rendering of a cast iron facade in reverse.

With unanimous approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Morris Adjmi‘s deceptively subtle take on the classic cast iron building is on its way to becoming reality. What at first glance appears to be a cast iron facade is actually a reverse bas relief cast in glass reinforced concrete—essentially a form in which you could mold a true cast iron facade. “This makes  you think of how these buildings were built, from the initial casting to being assembled as components,” said Adjmi. “So this is really taking that and inverting it so it becomes a record of the process.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Moderne Twist Update

East
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
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The redesigned 837 Washington (at right) lops off two floors from the original seven story version.

It’s been few months since Morris Adjmi presented plans for his twisted tower at 837 Washington to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. He returned on Tuesday with a scaled-down version of the original design. The architect brought two 3-D models to better illustrate the before and after versions. The body of the exoskeletal steel structure still pivots clockwise atop a 1938 art moderne market building, but now it does so at a reduced height of 84 feet, instead of 113. Still, lopping off two of the seven stories from the original design may not be enough to satisfy commissioners who seem to be scratching their heads over how to address the major mood changes in Gansevoort Market Historic District, which sits within the ever expanding design glow of the High Line.

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Quick Clicks> Gondolas, Landmarks, Main Streets, Paris

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
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Rendering for a gondola to connect Olympic venues in London (courtesy Expedition Engineering).

Shifting Skyline. London’s famed skyline may be getting an addition, and it’s not a new building. The Architect’s Journal tells us that Mayor Boris Johnson recently approved a plan by architects Wilkinson Eyre and Expedition Engineering for a proposed cable car system designed to link two key 2012 Olympic venues, the O2 Stadium and the Excel Exhibition Hall.

NYC’s Youngest Landmark. The New York Times City Room blog reports that NYC has four new landmarks: the Engineer’s Club, the Neighborhood Playhouse, Greyston Gatehouse and the Japan Society, which having been completed in 1971, makes it the youngest of the city’s historic landmarked structures.

Red Hook North. Meanwhile NYT Magazine reports that Red Hook developer Greg O’Connell hopes to do for tiny Mt. Morris, NY what he did for a slice of once-decrepit Brooklyn waterfront. Will the former NYPD detective’s progressive form of gentrification and downtown revitalization work in an ailing upstate town?

Onion domes in Paris. Inhabitat shares the news that the Russians are coming to Paris, in the form of a new domed church and cultural center. Situated near the Eiffel Tower, this new structure is the result of bi-national collaboration from the architects at Arch-Group and Sade Sa.

 

Manufacturers Trust Gets Yellow Light

East, East Coast
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
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Manufacturers Trust Company Building in 1955 (Courtesy Municipal Art Society)

Manufacturers Trust Company Building in 1955 (Courtesy Municipal Art Society)

“Sometimes the best way to restore a historic structure is to reuse it.” The comment came from Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Robert Tierney at the conclusion of Tuesday’s landmarks hearing on revisions proposed by Vornado Realty for interiors of the recently landmarked Manufacturers Trust Building on Fifth Avenue. The statement summed up the mood of the commission with regard to changes in the space, originally designed by Gordon Bunschaft, which include dividing the first floor to make space for two retail tenants. Most of the commission picked apart the specifics while maintaining that the architects from SOM overseeing the renovation were generally on the right track.

Continue reading after the jump.

Turrets, Trumpets, and Baseball Greats

East, East Coast, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
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Addisleigh Park residents clockwise from top: Ella Fitzgerald, Count Bassie, Fats Waller, Milt Hinton, Jackie Robinson and Lena Horne. (Courtesy: NYC LPC, Jazzagemusic.com)

Yesterday morning, after a bevy of Modernist aficionados crowded into the Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing room to tout the merits of Bunshaft’s interiors at the  Manufacturers Hanover Trust, the commission turned their focus to two historic African American neighborhoods: Sandy Ground in Staten Island and Addisleigh Park in Queens. The unanimous vote for the landmarks designations passed on the first day of Black History Month.

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Bunshaft Deconstructed?

East, East Coast
Monday, January 31, 2011
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Manufacturer’s Trust Company, Fifth Avenue, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, New York, NY, 1954 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has put the Gordon Bunshaft-designed Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company Building onto its Public Meeting/Public Hearing agenda for tomorrow morning at 9:30AM. Up for discussion will be the building’s first and second floor interiors, including the entrance lobby, escalators, teller counters, and floor and ceiling surfaces.

The iconic vault designed by Henry Dreyfuss, which is visible from Fifth Avenue, and Harry Bertoia’s multifaceted metallic screen both made it on to the agenda. But according to Theodore Grunewald of the Coalition to Save MHT, the Bertoia has already been removed by Chase Bank, the sculpture’s owner.

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The Straw That Broke the Silver Towers' Back

East, East Coast
Friday, November 19, 2010
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Fourth tower at NYU cancelled (Rendering courtesy Grimshaw and MVVA)

The proposed fourth tower at NYU is being reconsidered. (Rendering courtesy Grimshaw and MVVA)

I.M. Pei speaks and NYU listens. The university announced this week that plans for a Grimshaw-designed residential highrise planned for Pei’s landmarked Silver Towers block will be scrapped after the architect expressed disapproval over the project. The proposed 400-foot tower set amid three original concrete structures had been a point of conflict between NYU and its neighbors.

Read more after the jump.

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