From junk to jewel on East 79th Street: architecture review

Antiques store gives way to classical elegance in BKSK-designed 155 East 79th Street
By James Gardner | August 04, 2014 03:15PM

In the four years since I moved to The Upper West Side From The Upper East Side Near 79th Street, that important cross-street has seen extensive changes. Among these are the emergence of 200 and 300 East 79th Street, at the southeast corners of Third and Second avenues respectively. Another wonderful arrival: the beautiful new postmodern structure at 135 East 79th, formerly the home of the modly ugly Hunter College School of Social Work.

Now, there’s More Good News On The Design Front Along 79th Street. For years, an off-putting one story structure — little more than a shed, really — has plugged a hole between two stately buildings just in from Lexington and 79th in the direction of Third Avenue. It housed what was called an antiques store, though it was really more of a glorified junk shop. Two years ago it was torn down. Now, rising in its place, is the far more promising 155 East 79th Street, which has nearly topped out. Developed by Anbau Enterprises, the building has been designed by BKSK Architects, with interiors by Pembrooke & Ives.

Rising 14 stories over a single town-house sized lot, it will contain seven full-floor duplex condominium units, including a penthouse that will have a private terrace on the rooftop.

The style of the new building, according to the rendering, is one of austere elegance in a slightly classical mold. The façade rises simply as two bays, with four punched windows to a floor. The exterior and is formed from pale brick starting at the third floor, over a two story rusticated base clad in limestone.  One of the floors of each duplex, usually the lower floor, will have two Juliet balconies adorned with ornamental metalwork. At the very summit of the building is a limestone cornice as sober and austere as the rest of this estimable building promises to be.

In every respect, a worthy addition to this important stretch of Manhattan.