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Condo Building With Terracotta 'Fins' to Take Flight in Empty NoHo Lot

By Andrea Swalec | October 8, 2012 7:24am

NOHO — An empty lot on a bustling stretch of Broadway is slated for an unusual makeover — getting glowing reviews for its artistic terracotta "fins" design that reflects sunlight throughout the day.

The owner of the landmarked lot at 688 Broadway between East Third and Great Jones streets got unanimous approval from Community Board 2's landmarks committee for its planned 12-story condo building with an asymmetric façade featuring 14 residential units and ground-floor retail space.

The building, which is owned by Downtown Re Holdings LLC, has large terracotta "fins," or panels, arranged irregularly on the front of the building and angled in different directions to catch the light, according to renderings shared with CB2. The fins are its most prominent feature, setting the building apart from its more conventional neighbors.

"It's one of the most well-received applications for a new building that we've seen," CB2's landmarks committee co-chair Sean Sweeney said, adding that the terracotta fins will "give an excitement to the building."

"They will constantly change as the sunlight hits them," he said.

George Schieferdecker of BKSK Architects LLP said the façade will reference classic SoHo architecture, but with a twist.

"Terracotta has an extraordinarily rich history on New York City buildings," Schieferdecker said, "and its growing use as a contemporary building material is providing us with wonderful opportunities for recalling the past while creating something unique and current."

Building plans will be reviewed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission at a public hearing on Monday.

Construction dates will be determined based on the length of the approval process, a spokeswoman for BKSK said.