The Stealth Building by WORKac. New York City
This residential development consists of a complete gut renovation and new construction behind one of New York’s most beautiful and oldest cast-iron facades. It required a careful approach to the blending of contemporary architecture with historic preservation. New York City’s Landmarks Commission required any rooftop addition to be invisible. The building, however, is located on a highly-visible corner with a low, two-story building across the street. This meant that the building’s roof was visible from almost three blocks away.
The 1857 façade is completely restored. The new charcoal color chosen by WORKac references the building’s history of being painted in dark contrast with its lighter neighbors. As all of the building’s Corinthean column capitols had been lost to history, WORKac collaborated with the artist Michael Hansmeyer to create new versions. Hansmeyer created a computer script that allowed the classical floral elements of the Corinthean order to “grow” fractally, resulting in a new design that adheres to the old proportions but is composed of clearly new forms and idiosyncrasies. Like the rooftop addition, these capitals at first glance appear quite ordinary; it is only on closer inspection that the stealthy strategy of strategic injection of contemporary design becomes clear.