Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis again appeared before the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) Tuesday to present an updated proposal for the restoration of an 1868 townhouse at 176 Washington Park, and the construction of a new 2,000-square-foot carriage house at its rear.
Mayne, who presented with his collaborator Ted Kane (who is overseeing the restoration), won the unanimous approval — and delight — of the LPC for his revised design.
During the last public hearing held March 9, 2020, opinions were split over the carriage house's appropriateness for the historic Fort Greene neighborhood. While several commissioners were enamored with the boldness of the design, others critiqued the height and mass of the addition's screen wall. The corten steel cladding of the garage was also found problematic for its conspicuous coloring.
To address these issues, the height of the screen wall was reduced to terminate below the cornice of the neighboring building. The wall was also pulled away from its neighbor to reveal a gap that further reduces the mass of the facade while also visually gesturing to the primacy of the adjacent building. The corten steel cladding of the garage was replaced with a darker steel.
While the changes were few and subtle, all commissioners agreed that they made the building significantly better.
Commissioner Jeanne Lufty, who previously called the addition “institutional” in aesthetic, dubbed the update "a wonderful new piece of modern architecture."
Commissioner Fred Bland, who was in full support during the March presentation, added to the praise and christened Mayne's design the "most exciting piece of architecture" he's been able to review during his LPC tenure.
The commission was also generally happy with the approach to restoration but asked that design continue to be explored with LPC staff to improve its detailing. Commissioners were adamant that updates carefully consider the age and style of the Italianate townhouse, as well as its prominent location along the Fort Greene Park street wall.
Mayne's work will join another carriage house in the area being designed by a world-class architect. Currently, Sir David Adjaye is modernizing a brick structure located at 410-412 Waverly Avenue in Clinton Hill for famed American artist Glenn Ligon.
- Thom Mayne's modern Fort Greene carriage house met with mixed reviews (Urbanize NYC)
- Fort Greene (Urbanize NYC)