Building in Park Slope a cut above: Architecture review

470 Fourth Avenue has a certain charm -- which puts it way ahead of what it's replacing

New York /
Mar.March 17, 2014 09:40 AM

Quite a nice building will soon start to go up in Park Slope, at 470 Fourth Avenue. The 12,690-square-foot site, which currently contains several entirely undistinguished and relatively recent row houses, was purchased for $20 million by Adam America Real Estate Group, Slate Property Group and Naveh Shuster Limited.

According to recently unveiled renderings, this mixed-use rental building, which will be between 12 and 14 stories and provide space for shops at ground level, has been conceived in a generally modernist style with elements of the deconstructivist idiom scattered here and there about its façade. The building can be read as an International Style slab: slightly taller than it is broad, with horizontal infill and vertical coursing lines that seek to define its interior structural divisions.

But around this slab a carapace of brilliant red brick seems to have accumulated, and this is what invests the building with interest. The brick surface, which is solid as it recedes from the avenue, becomes spottier and more immaterial along the avenue itself. In some places, as though embracing the arbitrariness of the deconstructivist idiom, the brick seems to lie flat against the curtainwall, while at other points its protrudes from it, creating an almost old-fashioned effect of punched windows. Over all, the building promises to be well-proportioned and well-made.

The building will not be the first large development along Fourth Avenue, but it will represent yet another challenge to the generally low lying row houses in the neighborhood, some of which are lovely and fully deserve to be protected. Striking a balance between the interests of development while still preserving the character of the neighborhood is a complicated consideration. It is one that certainly applies here. In any case, the neighborhood can take solace in the thought that the building that is set to go up is better than the ones it will replace.


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