Morris Adjmi Architects recently announced that its design for a 6-story office and retail building at 837 Washington Street has been approved by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Located just to the east of the High Line and the Standard Hotel, the steel and glass tower will sit on top of an existing 2-story Moderne-style warehouse that dates from the late 1930s and was once part of the Gansevoort Market. “We are pleased with the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval of our design for 837 Washington Street, which we believe fits in with the fabric of the neighborhood while also helping forge a new architectural identity for the Meatpacking District,” said Morris Adjmi in a press release.
Indeed, the new addition’s design echoes the neighborhood’s industrial past: it features a metal and glass window wall set within an angular framework of gray steel beams that rotate around a brick core that ties it back to the warehouse below. Twisting as it rises, the dynamic of the tower is designed to echo the angles of the neighborhood streets until they bump up against the Manhattan grid above nearby 14th Street. Office floors will have views over the High Line straight out to the Hudson River and beyond, while planting beds along the edge of the floor slab will reduce stormwater runoff and benefit adjacent High Line landscaping.
The existing warehouse will also be of interest to students of Meatpacking District history. The Historic Districts Council offered some colorful testimony about the building’s past before the LPC (which it argued, unsuccessfully, in opposition to the addition):
Although small, this building has a history that distinctly reflects its time and place in the history of the Gansevoort Market. As described in the designation report, the “largely intact” building was built during the “last major phase of development in the district, when new low-scale buildings were constructed . . . for meat-related businesses.”
The low scale redevelopment of the 1930s was brought on by the construction of the elevated Miller Highway, elevated freight lines of the New York Central Rail Road, and Holland Tunnel, all of which allowed for easier access between the area and the metropolitan region. . . . [S]uch buildings are rare, late examples of the older market building typology constructed at a time when automobiles and super markets were quickly changing the look of grocery shopping throughout the nation. There are very specific reasons, related to the distinct history of this district, for why this building is low scale.
Taconic Investment Partners and Square Mile Capital are the developers behind the project.