61 West 23rd Street – As part of a team tasked with modernizing a building for new commercial tenants, we restored the aging facade of the seven-story 1886 cast iron building in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, adding a new insulated roof, and replacing the original windows with new energy-efficient units, customized to retain historic details. Our work was carefully integrated with the client’s interior renovations to provide modern working spaces in a vibrant area linking the midtown business district with the creative downtown scene.
Architizer chatted with Edward Jose, AIA LEED AP, Studio Director and Partner at Loci Architecture to learn more about this project.
What inspired the initial concept for your design?
Edward Jose: Primarily used throughout its history as a sweatshop and ad hoc commercial spaces, much of the building had suffered from neglect and low investment in its maintenance. After the interiors scope was significantly reduced when a major co-working space tenant backed out of the deal, the challenge was to add value at the exterior with a detailed restoration approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?
The overall building renovation served to elevate its curbside appeal and support the repositioning of the property as a flexible, recently restored boutique commercial property along the historic 23rd Street corridor in Chelsea.
What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?
Probably the windows and developing appropriate restoration methods for the cast iron. We worked closely with the LPC staff level examiner to develop custom window details to match the historic profiles. The cast iron components were methodically stripped, repaired, and recoated.
How did the context of your project — environmental, social or cultural — influence your design?
Over the past several decades, West 23rd Street has morphed from a light manufacturing area to a center for the toy industry to its current iteration as a highly sought after location for retail and boutique offices. Cast iron architecture in New York City has become synonymous with desired real estate, so carefully detailing the restoration was critical to the project’s success.
How have your clients responded to the finished project?
They love it!
How do you believe this project represents you or your firm as a whole?
We care about our city and restoring/building its fabric. Elevating this building’s profile and improving the neighborhood context is part of our mission to create better communities.
David Briggs, AIA LEED AP, Principal | Founding Partner; Tim Keesee AIA
Gardiner & Theobald, Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP, Archstone Builders (CM), Robert Singer & Associates
For more on 61 West 23rd Street, please visit the in-depth project page on Architizer.
61 West 23rd Street Gallery
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