Our design for 75 Kenmare is intended to relate to and transform the architectural fabric of the NoLita neighborhood. In setting the tone for this and future buildings to follow, I sought to make a striking contemporary statement to complement the neighborhood’s architectural landmarks.
The challenge is made interesting when I contemplate a Department of Buildings requirement for our site in the Little Italy Historic District, which mandates that 50.01% of the façade be made out of masonry. To look forward, I first look back. I studied ways in which hand laid brick is used to create detail and expression in historic buildings around NoLita, as well as innovative ways brick has been used in bringing pattern, texture and rhythm.
Our design solution references these precedents without repeating them, in the process transforming the literal building blocks of Manhattan. Most notably, I reinterpret the bricks themselves in cast formed concrete, imagining a richly textured and finely scaled surface with thoughtfully contemplated aggregate, color, and a surface patina. Vertical panels cast a series of narrow channels in three unique widths to define the architecture of the street wall. Each unique width is in a specific vertical plane that is set consistently with respect to the other two, and the pattern of channels is staggered randomly to create a stunning contemporary play of dimension, shade and shadow.
75 Kenmare is integrated, layered and offers a cohesive lens through which to experience architecture and its context in a curated transformative way.