New York City Zoning Board Burns Studio Gang’s “Solar Carve” Tower Along the High Line

Development, East, Midwest, News
Friday, February 21, 2014
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(Courtesy Studio Gang)

(Courtesy Studio Gang)

Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects announced plans for their New York debut in late 2012. The proposed building, located near the High Line along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets, features a serrated edge that maximizes daylight on the elevated park next door—Jeanne Gang called it “solar carving.”

But the legal path to realizing that faceted glass facade had some unexpected kinks of its own.

(Courtesy Studio Gang)

(Courtesy Studio Gang)

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) was “thrilled to report” that the building’s developer withdrew their application for a zoning variance for the building. At 213 feet tall, the tower would have been 34 percent larger than current zoning allows.

After a few appearances before the Board of Standards and Appeals, the project’s land use attorney told the New York Observer that the zoning request had fallen flat. The developer, William Gottlieb Real Estate, is apparently moving forward with a modified application, but for now the project remains blocked.

DAYLIGHT STUDIES SHOW HOW SUNLIGHT WILL REACH THE HIGH LINE. (STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS)

DAYLIGHT STUDIES SHOW HOW SUNLIGHT WILL REACH THE HIGH LINE. (STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS)

The High Line intersects the site, which is currently an empty meatpacking plant. Gang’s design placed the tower near the Hudson River, abutting the High Line. GVSHP contested the developer’s position that sandy soils and the High Line’s proximity constituted a “hardship” worthy of a zoning variance.

The 186,700-square-foot office tower was planned to open in 2015. If a revised application seeks different setbacks, the “Solar Carve” tower might meet less resistance from neighborhood groups.

“We have no objections to the proposed development setting back differently than the zoning requires, as this would have no negative impact upon the surrounding neighborhood,” wrote GVSHP’s executive director, Andrew Berman. “Increasing the bulk of the proposed development, however, would have such a negative impact.”

RENDERING OF JEANNE GANG'S PROPOSED TOWER ALONG NEW YORK'S HIGH LINE. (STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS)

RENDERING OF JEANNE GANG’S PROPOSED TOWER ALONG NEW YORK’S HIGH LINE. (STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS)

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