The new build on 688 Broadway fits seamlessly into the 'city of terra cotta'
"When I see this building, I want to touch it"
The apartment building One Great Jones Alley in the historic district of Broadway exudes what architect George Schieferdecker of BKSK in New York calls 'contemporary craft'. The glaze for the vertically installed terracotta elements was developed by Studio Christine Jetten (SCJ) and gives the façade a feel that is both modern and recognisable.
It is as if the building has always been there in Manhattan, also called the 'cityof terra cotta', which is precisely what persuaded the critical 'LandmarksPreservation Commission', whose approval was needed for the design. The commissionduly gave its approval, but the design also caught the eye of the judgingpanels on a number of prestigious architecture awards. As early as back in2017, the American Architecture Price recognised the design of this residentialbuilding in Lower Broadway with an award. For this project of One Great JonesAlley, the panel of the Architizer A+ Awards made special mention of thecontribution made by Studio Christine Jetten's work. The building was completedover a year ago and all apartments are now in use.
However,the story started years earlier. Architect George Schieferdecker, one of thefounders of BKSK Architects, had come across Christine Jetten's work back in2008. That was the year when the new home of the Museum of Arts and Design(MAD) in New York was completed. It had been decided that the originalbuilding, a rather neutral white marble box, should match more closely theglass and ceramics collection within. Jetten was commissioned by that museum'sarchitect, Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, to develop a uniqueglaze for the ceramic façade panels. The remarkable effect of the glaze in thedesign was noticed by Schieferdecker, who, like many others, was impressed. Hedecided there and then that if he ever had the opportunity within a buildingdesign, he would like to work with Christine Jetten as glazing expert.
The Landmarks commission was thoroughly smitten with the building's design, calling it "thrilling," "ravishing," and admirably consistent with the character of the façades throughout the Noho Historic District. "I want to reach out and touch this building," one commissioner said, while another predicted that it would someday become a New York City landmark itself.
Even the testimony from various preservationist groups was overwhelmingly favorable, as a representative from the Society for the Architecture of the City stated that the design was proof that "a new building can be, as they say, of our time without displaying contempt for the past."