77 Reade Street is best building on the block

By James Gardner | May 13, 2011 11:03AM

77 Reade Street

The diminutive stretch of Manhattan Known As Bond Street has seen some feverish development over the past few years, including Deborah Berke’s 48 Bond Street and Herzog & de Meuron’s 40 Bond Street, developed by Ian Schrager. And yet, the best building on the block is 25 Bond Street, by a somewhat less well-known firm, BKSK Architects. The virtues of their design, its energy and its classical calm, are in evidence in one of their newest projects, at 77 Reade Street, developed in the Tribeca South Historic District by S. Myles Group and Harshad Lakhani.

This 65,000-square-foot project consists of an existing building paired with a new one, having a common core. It comprises 38 condominium units. Though it is not as big or energetic or three dimensional as the building on Bond Street, it is distinguished by its elegant calm, the clarity with which the façade has been articulated, and the evident love of the pale masonry cladding used throughout. Like its predecessor at 25 Bond Street, the building exhibits, though in a subtler way, a textural richness in its serried ranks of deeply punched windows. These preserve something of the 19th century articulation of this part of Tribeca, even if their pared-down ornamentation is clearly contemporary, with little more than thin slivers protruding from the base of each to give a sense of history.

At the ground level are four storefronts, tastefully framed in metal girders that have a faintly industrial feel to them and that harmonize as well with the architectural traditions of Lower Manhattan. As with their work on Bond Street, this is now the best building on the block.

James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun, writes on the visual arts for several publications.