Developer Jourdan Krauss has big penthouse plans for his impeccably restored 361 Broadway, a six-story Italianate structure dubbed by preservationists “one of the handsomest” cast-iron buildings in the city. His residential conversion plan calls for topping the 131-year-old landmark with a nearly 23-feet-high, two-story addition easily seen from the street. That could be a hard sell to the city’s watchdogs of historic appropriateness whose approval he is now seeking.
“I’ve had two other approvals for two-story [additions] but they just never sat right with me,” Krauss, president of Knightsbridge Properties, told Community Board 1′s Landmarks Committee earlier this month. “This is something that I think is really spectacular. Maybe you should make a concerted effort to give us a chance on this one.”
Two-story additions have been approved for 361 Broadway in the past, but never built. The first two, approved in 2002 and 2007, were glass structures meant to be moderately visible and mimic the look of a skylight or greenhouse. The current proposed penthouse, by the well-known Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, is also made mostly of glass and aluminum, but makes no pretense of invisibility. The two floors of the addition loom the largest from the south, on Broadway.
“This is a case where we feel that the historic architecture and new architecture work together very, very well,” said Elise Quasebarth, the preservation consultant hired by Krauss to help persuade the committee and, next month, the Landmarks Preservation Commission that the two-story penthouse would be an appropriate fit for the building.
“It respects the original volumes so that you can see the original shape of the building as you go down, and it is detailed in a way to let it appear to float above the building,” Quasebarth explained.
But the community board, which is advisory to the Landmarks Commission, routinely rejects rooftop structures taller than one story.
CARL GLASSMAN/TRIBECA TRIB
A southern view of the mockup atop, seen from Broadway. (more…)