16 West 21st Street: Morris Adjmi to Seek LEED Gold on Ladies’ Mile

This 14-story, 9-unit condominium conversion will seek LEED Gold on a narrow parcel just off the Ladies’ Mile in the Flatiron District.

You may recall that Morris Adjmi Architects is in pursuit of LEED-CS Gold for a 20,000-square-foot commercial office building above the High Line in West Chelsea at 450 West 14th Street which continues to remain under construction. Back in January, the firm won approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a 14-story, 9-unit condominium project at 16 West 21st Street in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District that will seek a LEED Gold rating from USGBC.

The permit allowed the firm to demolish an existing two-story brick parking garage that dated from 1942; the Commission ruled that the garage was “not [a structure] for which the Ladies’ Miles Historic District was designated” and did not “contribute to the character of the street and does not have historic merit in itself.” With respect to Morris Ajmi’s design, it noted that “the proposed glass facade will be a contemporary evocation of the taller historic buildings in this historic district and molded glass will recall the features which are found on historic buildings of a similar scale.”

Branded by developer F& T Group as 16 West 21st Street Condominium, the project references the origins of the Ladies’ Mile by purporting to evoke the turn-of-the-century, Gilded Age architecture of Madison Square; the glass facade of the building will be “whiter than white;” all columns, spandrels, and even the building’s cornice will be constructed out of frosted glass. The facade itself is organized to classical proportions that resemble those of neighboring historic buildings along West 21st Street. Specific green design features other than energy-efficient glass and water-efficient fixtures are not yet available.

We frequently note green design in the context of more modern architecture here at gbNYC, so it’s interesting to see a local green building project that seeks to blend into a more traditional vernacular, particularly in as historic a context as the Ladies’ Mile. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the frosted glass design elements on the building’s facade appear once in place and the extent to which such glass assists the building in terms of performance. F&T Group and its joint venture partner OZ Holdings (which is no longer part of the development group) purchased the property in an all-cash transaction back in December of 2007; other project team details are also presently unavailable.

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