Thursday, November 20, 2014

In opposition to proposal, CHA prevails

At the intersection of Henry Street and Atlantic Avenue sits a simple gas station. Its use is atypical of the Atlantic Avenue retail corridor and its design is atypical of the Cobble Hill historic district. Fortunately, the 100' by 55' foot lot is being redeveloped to include ground floor businesses and residential units above. That is good news for the Cobble Hill Association. However, the proposal rendered in the image above stands as a bulky anomaly which would be out of context with the neighborhood.

This week, the Cobble Hill Association testified against the current design by BKSK architects in a hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Council. Joining our opposition were several residents of Cobble Hill as well as representatives from Society for the Architecture of the City and the Historic Districts Council. We made clear that many distinct features of the building were unbecoming to the character of the neighborhood including the proposed marquee entrance on Henry Street, the Shoji-style floor-to-ceiling fenestration, the transparent corner aesthetic, and most especially the excessively large mechanical bulkheads that would soar well above the 50 foot height limit and be visible from the interior of the historic district.

As noted in the press here and here, the LPC sided with the Cobble Hill Association. Though it did not outright deny the application as we requested, it did ask the developers to come back with amended plans that would fit the contextual 19th century architecture better than its current renderings which instead evoke a 20th century industrial design. Additionally, LPC eliminated elevator access to the roof thereby reducing the bulkheads by a full ten feet.

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