Architect designs a building of the past to fill a vacant lot in Bed-Stuy
On the rare occasions when owners of vacant lots in historic districts decide to construct new buildings, there are a couple workable design strategies to choose from.
Their architect can create a contemporary building that contrasts with the surrounding properties or replicate a building that stood on the site in the past.
Architect Gerald Caliendo chose the latter course of action when drawing up plans for a brand-new rowhouse at 324 Macon St., a 17-foot-wide lot now used to park cars. The city Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved his design on Tuesday.
The lot had been empty since the 1960s, when a home constructed around 1889 was demolished, the commission’s designation report about the Bedford Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District says. Inspired by a 1940s photo of the house that had stood on the site, he drew up a design for a three-story brownstone with a bay window that’s two stories tall.
A contractor will custom-make historically accurate facade elements such as window surrounds for the two-family home. Caliendo told the commissioners he will do highly detailed drawings for the contractor to work from.
Commissioner Frederick Bland cautioned Caliendo to work with LPC staff members to get the details just right.
“Wrong moves could make this into a mishmash,” Bland said.
LPC Chairperson Sarah Carroll also advised Caliendo to work with the preservation agency’s staff members.
And Carroll said it’s acceptable for the architect to use brownstone-colored cast stone for 324 Macon St.’s facade. This construction material is precast concrete that’s made to look like natural stone.
The owner of the lot at 324 Macon St. is developer Sharon Hakmon, who bought the land through an entity called 132 NY Realty Corp. for $120,000 in 2013, city Finance Department records show.
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