34 East 68th Street
Upper East Side Historic District
A neo-Grec style row house designed by R.W. Buckley and built in 1879. Application is to reconstruct the front and rear facades, and construct a rooftop addition.
CB8 Hearing: 11/14/12 (Approved in part)
LPC Hearing: 11/13/12 (No Action)
Other projects: May 20, 2014
This proposal raises the theoretical question of whether it is preferable to preserve a block’s last remaining architectural representative of a previous time, or if it is more important that a building conform to its surrounding context. Our Preservation Committee was split. Some members regret the loss of 34 East 68th Street’s characteristic brownstone, and advocate for a finish that would mimic this materiality. Others felt that limestone would be more appropriate considering its proliferation on the block. Ultimately, the façade’s reconstruction in limestone was found to be appropriate due to the building’s context and the proposal’s recreation of detailing used by the original architect.
At the rear façade, the complicated asbestos mitigation provides an opportunity for a contemporary intervention. This proposal incorporates a modern design in a way that is appropriate and respectful to its surroundings. FRIENDS supports Commission approval of this application.