21 East 63rd Street
Buchman and Fox
Upper East Side Historic District
A Beaux-Arts style rowhouse built in 1900 and designed by Buchman and Fox and altered in 1980. Application is to remove the stoop, alter the ground floor and modify the areaway walls and ironwork.
CB8 Hearing: 01/10/22 (Approved)
LPC Hearing: 02/08/22 (Approved with Modifications)
The proposed alterations to the main floor of this turn-of-the-century Beaux-Arts structure lay the groundwork for an interesting conversation about the appropriateness of significant design changes in buildings that have been altered in the past and restored in recent years. And we applaud the applicant for having taken into consideration the feedback received at the Community Board.
FRIENDS Preservation Committee appreciates the challenges the applicant has been presented with, given the existing configuration of the building’s interior plans and main facade proportions. The increased transparency of the street-level openings reduces the level of detail and texture of the building. We understand, however, the desire to create a more welcoming sense based on the structure’s commercial use, and believe the applicant has come up with a sensible plan that balances ironwork detail and transparency.
FRIENDS is concerned about the odd proportions and lack of symmetry of the main entrance. The additional three feet in height due to the stoop removal create an incongruous appearance. We wonder if the intermediate course of limestone proposed for the side openings were to be replicated at the door – replacing the black metal spandrel separating the door and transom, the overall appearance of the central bay would be more harmonious and more in keeping with the building’s design.
Finally, we appreciate the muted appearance of the proposed signage. However, we believe that the potential overall signage to be excessive for a residential side street, in the case the tenant decides to make use of the two existing flagpoles. Given the fact that this Commission does not regulate the content and size of flags, we ask that the existing flagpoles are taken into consideration when analyzing the entire signage of this building.