BKSK-Designed Topper for the Meatpacking District Gets Landmarks’ Blessing

BKSK's revised design for 9-19 9th Avenue. (BKSK Architects)

BKSK’s revised design for 9-19 9th Avenue. (BKSK Architects)

And another glass and metal addition is set to rise atop a low-rise building in the Meatpacking District. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has voted to approve the BKSK-designed topper to the two-story building at 9–19 9th Avenue, which is best known for housing Keith McNally’s famous French bistro, Pastis.

The revised design from the north. (BKSK Architects)

The revised design from the north. (BKSK Architects)

An alternate proposal by the firm was shot down by the LPC in May, in what Curbed described as a heated, and very, very crowded, hearing. According to the blog, local residents called the addition “garish,” “a disoriented layer cake,” and “an obliteration of a historic district.” BKSK has a positive track record of working with Landmarks, however, and the firm came back with a revised plan, which has just won the LPC’s blessing.

Harry Kendall, a principal at the firm, told AN that the while the structure has largely stayed the same,  the “architectural language of the design” has changed. Essentially, BKSK is using less glass. “The metal frame has taken a more central role as an element of the facade and glass panels are clipped between the frames as a secondary element,” Kendall said.

Closeup of the addition. (BKSK Architects)

Closeup of the addition. (BKSK Architects)

He explained that at the hearing in May, the commission suggested BKSK work harder to do less. “We did that,” Kendall said. “We applied ourselves diligently to doing less.”

But, according to Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, less is not enough. “We are extremely disappointed with this vote, the last to take place under outgoing LPC Chair Tierney,” Berman said in a statement. “Once more the Commission approved a design in direct contradiction to their own prior recommendations, in which they told the applicant to substantially change the design, and that it was too large (the size of the addition is relatively unchanged).”

The facade looking west. (BKSK Architects)

The facade looking west. (BKSK Architects)

The street level. (BKSK Architects)

The street level. (BKSK Architects)

BKSK-pastis-02BKSK-pastis-01

 

To understand the changes that lead up to the approval, AN overlaid the original (below) design with the approved plan in this before and after. Due to the varying angles of each rendering, the before may appear slightly skewed.

The old design. (Courtesy BKSK)

The old design. (Courtesy BKSK)

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