First Look: 14 White

The plans for 14 White, at the northwest corner of Sixth Ave. (currently a parking lot), were revealed at last night’s meeting of the Community Board 1 Landmarks Committee. The developer, NAVA, is also an architecture firm, and it’s collaborating with DXA Studio on the project. The building will be seven stories, with 10 residences.*

All but one of these are photos are of the presentation from across the room. I’ve reached out to NAVA to see if it’ll share the actual renderings. UPDATE: I got better renderings (but not from NAVA).

The most important design feature to pay attention to is the way the windows and framing change size throughout the building, starting smaller by 12 White and then gradually growing.

The building will have a bronze rainscreen etched with acid to create a mesh-like pattern. There are ecological reasons for the rainscreen—the building will be a “passive building”–as well as aesthetic ones.

The ground floor will be sheathed in a darker bronze that has been “super-patinated” so that it’s more homogeneous and impervious to things like dog urine. The retail space is 2,400 square feet at street level and 600 square feet below. Residents enter on White. There is also a garage door on White, with automated parking for a few cars in the basement. They might add more, which they can do as of right.

Because the Sixth/White corner of the building is rather acute, it should be possible for pedestrians to see straight through the two windows on either side. The building will have integrated exterior window shades, and perhaps house rules for which shades are allowed on the interior. In the slide below, I’m still not sure what the spiky corner is. Also, note the distinctive thin cornice (the lip around the top of the building).

Apartments are two- to four-bedrooms.

I didn’t stick around to listen to the committee’s opinions, because its role is only advisory; the Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on the building is scheduled for March 7. My two cents? It’s hard to tell from a presentation like this, but I’m in favor of a bit of brawn on Sixth Avenue, and I’d rather have something expensive-looking (if only to distract from the new pile of bricks to the north) than a watered-down version of “Tribeca.” I do worry that there’s one too many layers of what I think of as movement: The windows change size, the frames change size, even the pattern of the etching changes from floor to floor. In design, you need some order for the asymmetry to play off of, and it would feel a tad more contextual if there was more order. (You don’t want to mimic the cast-iron neighbors, but you want to pay them some respect.) That said, I believe that location, more than most in the neighborhood, can handle the distinctiveness.

And here are photos of the materials. The brick is for a lot-line section that I don’t believe is visible in the renderings.

Last but not least, the firms shared an interesting slide of maps from 1916 and 1930, showing the damage done by the southern extension of Sixth Avenue.

*The building will be within the height limit of 85 feet allowed as of right, but it needs a variance from the city to increase the floor area ratio (FAR), so that it can be seven floors rather than six. The Board of Standards and Appeals and the City Planning Commission wait for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to approve a design before weighing the request for a variance. The developer says that it warrants the variance because the site is so complex, thanks to the subway. But CB1 wasn’t discussing the variance last night; that’ll go before a different committee. This meeting was just about the design.

5 Comments

  1. And when you’ve moved it, good luck finding a place to eat.

    • I know you’re upset about Roc, but if you look in the left column of this website, you’ll see a list of businesses (including 11 restaurants) opening in the area in future months.

  2. Depressing to see parking included but otherwise it looks really cool. I’m happy it includes some retail.

  3. Do you know what’s going on at the block south of there between Franklin and White St)? There are construction barricades up and the parking on that entire side of the street has been blocked off.

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