Three-story preschool proposed for historic Williamsburg block

Lot at 2 Fillmore Place has been vacant for more than 40 years

TRD New York /
July 10, 2014 02:30 PM

The lone block in Williamsburg that is protected as a historic district could soon give way to a three-story preschool.

Martin Finio of Christoff : Finio Architecture presented his plans for a school located at 2 Fillmore Place, on the corner of Driggs Avenue, before the Landmarks Preservation commission this week. To be called the School at Fillmore Place, the building would be primarily glass and Douglas fir, with a brick exterior over the stairwell on Driggs Avenue.

The project would require a variance from the Bureau of Standards and Appeals to construct a site large enough to house 77 students, a move that would involve increasing the space by 1,421 square feet and securing a height variance to add 25 inches.

Finio told the LPC that because the area is scrappy in nature, the proposed building materials are appropriate, while the wood is essential for a “sense of well-being and belonging.” The reflectivity of the glass, meanwhile, would enable the environment to be the “third teacher,” he said.

While the local community board rejected the proposal outright, calling it “not contextual,” the LPC gave the project a warmer reception — but did not uniformly agree on a response. Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, noting that the lot has been vacant for over 40 years, said the development would help the district.

The LPC asked the design team to investigate other possible colors for the brick façade and to look at possibly thickening the structure’s base before submitting a revised proposal. [Curbed]Julie Strickland

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