Stone Cloud on Leonard St.

Yesterday’s New York Times had an interesting story by Alison Gregor about a proposed addition sprawling over the rooftops of 78-80 Leonard Street (between Church and Broadway). The architecture, by Henry Smith-Miller of Smith-Miller Hawkinson Architects, is certainly striking—the NYT says the addition has been compared to a stone cloud, an origami sculpture, and Ayer’s Rock—but what may be most remarkable is that the structure was approved by the Landmarks Committee of Community Board 1 and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. (That part of Leonard Street is within the Tribeca East Historic District, and the two buildings in question are 19th-century int_112408_00cast-iron buildings.)
Unable to get a good sense of what the addition actually looks like from the rendering in the Times, I visited the architects’ website (the page on the project is here) and contacted Mr. Smith-Mimage 01 courtesy Smith-Miller Hawkinsoniller to see if he had more renderings. He was happy to oblige, as you can tell. He explained that the addition passed because it’s not visible from within the historic district; in fact, the c27_night-sketchonly street-level views will be from small sections of Church and Broadway. The addition will hold four or eight apartments, and it’s sheathed in a fine mesh. Smith-Miller compared the effect to a screened porch, but while people inside can see out, outsiders can’t see in. That is, if the addition gets built—money is tight these days, as we all know, and even more so when it comes to real-estate development.
Just wondering: If the addition becomes the penthouse, does that mean the current top-floor apartments have to relinquish their penthouse status? A someone who has always wanted to live in a penthouse, I have to imagine that’ll hurt a little. —Erik Torkells


1 Comment

  1. Good observation regarding current penthouses becoming simple duplexes. However the former penthouses never had roof access while the new ones will.