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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

250 Bowery in New York City by AA Studio and MA ARCHITECTS

February 27th, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: AA Studio

250 Bowery is a recently completed 40,000 sq/ft new condominium building located on the east side of the Bowery, between Houston and prince Street.

The Bowery is the street that separates NoLiTa (North of Little Italy) from the Lower East Side.

From the Civil war time until a few years ago, The Bowery was still considered the street of the homeless, the prostitutes and the drug addicts and was known for the flophouses.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

  • Architects: AA STUDIO (Aldo Andreoli) and MA ARCHITECTS (Morris Adjmi)
  • Project: 250 Bowery
  • Location: New York City, USA

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

The Bowery had also become the turf of one of America’s earliest street gangs, the nativist Bowery Boys.

In the spirit of social reform, the first YMCA opened on the Bowery in 1873.

Another notable religious and social welfare institution established during this period was The Bowery Mission, which was founded in 1880.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

Due in part to the presence of the music club CBGB, the Bowery also became known as one of the centers of Punk culture in the 1970s and 1980s. The CBGB was the club that saw the first performances, among others less famous band, of the \”Talking Heads\”, The \”Ramones\” and Patty Smith.

This year CBGB became also part of the Metropolitan Museum’s 2013 Costume Institute exhibition, \”Punk: Chaos to Couture\”, a show that examine punk’s impact on high fashion from the movement birth in the early 1970’s through today.

In fact one of the exhibition’s theme is the recreation of an infamous graffiti covered CBGB bathroom.

During the 80’s and 90’s the Bowery was re-known for the Kitchen equipment and lighting stores.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

The vagrant population of the Bowery declined after the 1970s, in part because of the city’s effort to disperse it.

Since the 1990s the entire Lower East Side has been reviving.

The construction of 40 Bond designed by Herzog and De Meuron and developed by Ian Schrager was the beginning of the gentrification of this area into a hip downtown condo location.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

Now Bond Street is considered one of the most prestigious addresses in town, with the construction of 25 Bond designed by BKSK and 30 Bond by DDG.

As of July 2005, gentrification is contributing to ongoing change along the Bowery. In particular, the number of high-rise condominiums is growing. In 2006, AvalonBay Communities opened its first luxury apartment complex on the Bowery, which included an upscale Whole Foods Market. Avalon Bowery Place was quickly followed with the development of Avalon Bowery Place II in 2007.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

That same year, the SANAA-designed facility for the New Museum of Contemporary Art opened between Stanton and Prince Street.

A few years after Sanaa’s project the Bowery witnessed the construction of the new gallery Sperone-Westwater, designed by Sir Norman Foster and located just one block north of the New Museum.

Cooper Square, located just three block north on the same street, have seen in the last few years, the construction of the new Cooper Union classroom and laboratory building, designed by Tom Mayne of Morph sis.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

3 Pritzker Price winners designed 3 building in just a few blocks of the Bowery in the last 4 years. It seems to send a powerful message for the architectural potential of this area of downtown.

250 Bowery is located on the western side of the street, between Houston and Prince.

A well-known downtown developer purchased this site in 2004. He wanted to build a Condo-hotel, a formula that was very fashionable before the recession.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

Problems in the excavation of the foundations delayed the construction, and when the subprime mortgages crisis hit the market the note of the building went in default.

The site was purchased in 2010 by two young developers (VE Equities), which decided to build a boutique condominium on the distressed site.

The selected Architect were Morris Adjmi and Aldo Andreoli, who just formed a new partnership.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

Morris Adjmi and Aldo Andreoli met in Italy in 1990 when Adjmi was working for Aldo Rossi at multiple projects and Andreoli was working for Ettore Sottsass at a project in the island of Maui, Hawaii.

The two young architects shared an affinity for modern design and a strong interest in history.

Although Adjmi and Andreoli quickly became friends, their careers ended up taking them in divergent directions and they eventually lost contact.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

Having both studied under well known modern “masters” of the profession, they would each go on to develop their own unique styles of design, both of which were largely influenced by their former mentors. In the meantime, they each grew in their success as confident and capable architects.

In 2010, the two old friends were reacquainted when a mutual friend, also an Italian designer, happened to re-introduce them.

Adjmi and Andreoli were delighted to reconnect, and while catching up on their accomplishments of the previous two decades, they realized that their architectural interests had actually increased.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

They decided to team up on a design competition for a 120,000 square foot international fashion, photography and video studio in New York to be developed by International firm Estate4 (The project was Spring Studios at 50 Varick).

Estate4 and its founder, Alessandro Cajrati Crivelli, are well known for the development of Zona Tortona in Milano, Italy, probably the biggest hub for the fashion industry in the world.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

After winning the competition, Adjmi and Andreoli chose to join forces and build on their mutual success. The close relationship between the two firms quickly resulted in more commissions, including 250 Bowery and three high-end condominium developments in TriBeCa (11 N Moore, 403 Greenwch and 290 West Street).

More projects are on the boards including a 24-story office tower in Verona, Italy and the conversion to residential of a 230,000sq/ft warehouse building in Brooklyn.
The design sense of Adjmi and Andreoli finds common ground in their love of clean, contemporary design that is both lasting and relevant. Both designers enjoy reinterpreting historic forms as a basis to create something modern, while at the same time respecting the relationship to the city and its past.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

Morris Adjmi, the founder and principal of Morris Adjmi Architects, began his career working with Aldo Rossi in 1981 after obtaining his Masters of Architecture degree from Tulane University.

In 1986, Adjmi partnered with Rossi and opened Studio di Architettura in New York City.

They collaborated on numerous international projects including the Hotel Il Palazzo in Fukuoka, Japan, which received an AIA Honor Award, the Disney’s Celebration Office Complex in Orlando, Florida, the ABC Headquarters in Burbank, and the Scholastic Headquarters in New York City.

Image Courtesy © AA Studio

Adjmi established his own design firm in 1997. Currently he is designing five new buildings in New York City, including a mixed-use building in TriBeCa, a commercial building in the Gansevoort Historic Market District, and a residential building in the Ladies Mile Historic District. His office is also working on a number of commercial buildings and hotels in Florida. His work has been covered in numerous publications, and he has edited two books on Aldo Rossi. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the Historic District Committee of New York City, and is a board member of Open House New York (OHNY).

Aldo Andreoli is a licensed Italian Architect who received his degree from the Politecnico di Torino in 1977. His combined passions for architecture and travel have directed Aldo’s work, which includes an impressive portfolio of innovative and challenging commercial and residential projects that span five continents.

Italy, Panama, Arizona, and New York are just a few of the regions where his work has made him a recognized international talent. After working in both Europe and South America, Aldo moved to New York City in the early nineties, where he founded the architectural practice, SANBA Design + Development, a design-oriented development company.

Starting with the renovation of 56 Thomas Street and later 140 Franklin Street, both existing TriBeCa warehouse buildings converted to condominiums, SANBA was arguably the first company in New York to understand the importance of design in new developments.

After 911 Aldo decided to follow the tracks of master like Frank Lloyd Wright and Paolo Soleri, moving to the serene deserts of Sedona, Arizona where he designed and built multiple single family residences.

In 2009 Aldo returned to New York City to continue his passion for New York City Architecture. Aldo is currently working on multiple projects around the world including a fashion studio and residential building in New York City, a single family residence in the beautiful hills of Monterrey Bay, California, and multiple concept designs in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, NY.

250 Bowery as a condominium project was conceived during the recession, and this is the reason way the developers requested for the design of smaller units, easier to sell in a difficult market.

The previous design for a condo-hotel included a facade in Cort-ten steel with slanted windows, a design very costly for a new building to be constructed immediately following one of the strongest real estate recession in the history of the USA.

The close presence of two landmarks such as the New Museum and the Sperone-Westwater gallery, two buildings designed more for being noticed then for efficiency, was another important consideration during the conceptual phase of the design.

The program was also calling for the design of 4 duplex penthouses to be built on the top two floors of the new building.
This idea (together with the creation of private terraces on the roof of the building) maximized the return for the sale of these units, allowing the developer to charge a premium not only for the top floor, but also for the one below.

As an additional financial consideration, the architects were asked to locate the scissors staircases and the elevator core in the southern portion of the building, in order to keep the commercial space on the ground floor open and column free and consequently add to its commercial value.

Usually in New York developers don’t want to spend additional cost on the facades facing the lot lines (subject to be hidden by the construction of neighboring buildings) or the ones in the back of the building (since they are not visible from the street).

Another important aspect was that the size of the building frontage and the allowed maximum height almost correspond, therefore forcing the geometry of the facade to be squared (85′ x 85′).

In order to face these challenges the architects decided to choose a facade design incorporating a rigorous grid of squares within squares (at a certain phase of the project, they suggested to call the building B-square where \”B\” stands for Bowery and \”square\” stands for cool).

The tradition of the Bowery as a commercial street, and the proximity to Soho as an iconic cast-iron area were the deciding factors to shape the aspect of the building as a contemporary warehouse.

in 2013 New York cast-iron is surely a material too expensive to use in a new condominium development. In order to achieve the same look the architects selected alucobond for the construction of the facade, a very versatile composite aluminum paneling system that is available in many custom color and that can be forged in different shapes.

The result is a slightly reflective metal appearance very similar to steel.

The warehouse aspect is also emphasized by the design of the windows, divided in nine panes and operable with a tilt.

The architects convinced the developers to construct a similar facade on the back of the building, where the views of downtown are memorable and the apartments are quieter then on the Bowery. These apartments sold very fast at record prices for the area.

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