Saturday, September 12, 2015

Returning to Earlier Architectural Eras

On Friday, proposed changes to the facade of 9-21 Warren Street, formerly the COARC building, were presented to the Historic Preservation Commission. 

Gossips has told the story of this monument to wrong-headed urban planning before. Built in 1975 and dubbed Parkview Plaza, it was to be Hudson's answer to the strip malls of Greenport, complete with off-street parking. Three years later, in 1978, without a single store ever having opening in the ill-fated plaza, the bank foreclosed and ended up taking possession of the building. The picture below appeared in the Register-Star in 1978, accompanying the story of the foreclosure and sale on the steps of the courthouse.

Now the property of the Galvan Initiatives Foundation and renamed the Warren Street Academy, the building will house at least three different learning programs: the Bard High School Early College program, the "alternative transition" program known as The Bridge, and a special education program. Two decades ago, when COARC owned the building, the walkway, an essential element of strip mall design, was enclosed with a brick wall to create an interior hallway. Now, to facilitate the building's new uses, the brick wall is coming down, and the covered walkway, extending the length of the building, is coming back.

As a reminder of what was lost, the picture below, taken in 1973, shows the buildings that were demolished to make way for this exemplar of the golden age of strip mall architecture. 

Upstreet, at 551 Warren Street, a facade is being restored to its appearance in a different era: the 1930s. 

The vitrine at 551 Warren Street, which survives much altered from its configuration when it was introduced in 1938 and which in recent years served as the pedestal for the big classical head, will be removed, and the green marble on the vitrine will be used to repair cracked sections of the green marble under the display windows. The entrance doors, which now fall short of reaching to the base of the fanlight, will be replaced with hand-milled oak doors with glass panels, patterned after a design found in a 1930s catalog of store doors, which will extend the full height. 

The Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to grant certificates of appropriateness to both proposals.

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