When modern buildings come to old-school blocks

Brownstones and tenements are New York’s iconic residences, and an unbroken line of either type of housing stretching from block to block is a classic feature of the city.

But sometimes those perfect lines of windows, stoops, fire escapes, and cornices are broken—interrupted by a modern upgrade one could see as fresh and dynamic or as an ugly interloper disturbing the 19th and early 20th century architecture.

Case in point: 277 Mott Street near Prince Street, flanked by tenements in what used to be Little Italy and now is Nolita.

The building was designed by Toshiko Mori, who “conceived a twisting street facade composed of torqued glass and CNC milled stone,” according to City  Realty.

Another reinterpretation of a brownstone or townhouse is this one on an Upper East Side street. I’m not sure what’s going on here or what the inspiration was, but the slightly cylinder-like facade could be a fun feature.

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6 Responses to “When modern buildings come to old-school blocks”

  1. marc Says:

    There is the same problem in Paris, where perfect lines of 19th century buildings are marred by the creative ‘gestures’ of international architects. Often this is imposed by city government, corporations and property developers against the wishes of the inhabitants.

  2. Mykole Mick Dementiuk Says:

    I sure wouldn’t to live on those blocks, no thank you!

  3. Susan Siskind Says:

    What street is the cylinder building on upper east side???

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I apologize for not knowing; usually I keep good track of exact addresses but this time I didn’t. If anyone can identify the street, let us know….

  4. Gojira Says:

    Beyond hideous.

  5. kathleen heron Says:

    I lived in the East Village in the 70s & 80s & there were so many buildings that burned. I read that some owners torched them so they could get the tenants out & rebuild. The new buildings I see there now give me the creeps because of this.

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