While it is more restrained than many of the high designed garages currently popping up in Miami, the new garage at New York Botanical Gardens, designed by Ennead‘s Suzan Rodriguez with Desman Associates, marks a distinct departure for bland lots frequently found around New York. The garage opened to the public last Friday and promises to sport a vertical garden on all four sides once the plantings catch on to and climb up the Greenscreen wire trellis. The trellis wire rests between ‘V’ shaped vertical columns that derive inspiration from tree-limbs. But one can also detect a modernist influence, perhaps Pier Luigi Nervi‘s George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal? The effort goes a bit beyond the call of greening duty, as its not actually located in the the gardens. It sits on a former industrial site across the street and over the bridge of the MTA’s North Harlem local line.
When the attention of real estate speculators diverts, sometimes old neighborhoods have time to acquire a majestic patina. The Washington Heights section of northern Manhattan has been neglected for some time, but is now getting a fair share of spillover interest from Columbia’s Manhattanville project and the university’s nearby hospital campus. In 2009, the Audubon Park Historic District was created to protect the area just behind Audubon Terrace, home to the Hispanic Society and the Academy of Arts and Letters. But just north of the district, years of landlord neglect has unwittingly preserved row after row of early 20th century apartment buildings festooned with ornate cornices. But the cornices are now in danger of disappearing.