Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Architecture Snark

As we have seen time and again, early renderings are often inaccurate representations of the building that is finally constructed, and, in fairness, this may well be the case for the rendering that recently surfaced for building being proposed by the Galvan Foundation for North Seventh Street.

We are asked to believe that this is the same building originally proposed for 708 State Street simply re-sited. Clearly, it is not. For starters, the new rendering shows a building that is a story taller.

When the Hudson Housing Authority was proposing its new buildings across State Street from Bliss Towers, we were told that the original design was meant to be reminiscent of the old Union Mills building at North Sixth and Washington streets, now known as the Pocketbook Factory.

A reader suggested that the design for the proposed new Galvan building had also taken its inspiration from the Pocketbook Factory.

Photo: Scott Baldinger

I have to confess that the Pocketbook Factory was not the first image that came to mind when I saw the rendering of what's proposed for North Seventh Street. Rather it was this: Sing Sing Prison in 1855.



  1. Carole, similar thoughts. Thank you for clarifying how different the 2 renderings are. The uniformity looks like a prison. There are no friendly public spaces for gathering as in the first one. In other words, a prison.

  2. If the proposed building has, as the Powerpoint presentation shows, 80,000 square feet and five full stories, its footprint must be at least 160x100 feet. It's likely much more than that, to allow for airwells, and so probably takes up the entire lot. Compare that to the three and four-story Pocketbook Factory, with massing of separate rectangular forms and setbacks from the street. The proposed project looks like something Robert Moses would have come up with for the Bronx in 1950 to incarcerate the poor.

  3. Should anyone be surprised? Like Donald Trump and all his lies and nonsense, we become inured to it and it's the new norm. At some point most people just look the other way or don't even bother paying attention, then say "whatever, I've got too much crap right now to deal with myself. I can't be bothered." My guess is that Galvan never actually planned to locate this project on the east side of the street.

  4. Besides, what about NYS and Hudson losing population for years. Let's not forget the latest financial catastrophe. A Depression we are just entering. The pandemic will be around for a bit more to be sure. Is this project appropriate? Who's profiting?

  5. Without a doubt one of the gloomiest and non-inspirational buildings I've seen in a long time. This whole plan needs a serious review. What about all the empty buildings Galvan has? How many apartments in them. Repurposing would be a better idea than having another large box to squeeze people into. Airspace, green, distance.

  6. The cement block building now there is a waste of space. What would make sense would be to divide the area into lots to allow for the construction of houses that would fit into the neighborhood. This would increase the value of the surrounding homes rather than degrade them. It would bring in needed tax revenue to the city, rather than burden it with a subsidy. It would put no strain on city services and parking, rather than create more strain.

    This whole argument about the need for affordable housing originated not so much because of a lack of housing, but the cost of it. People complained about the escalating rents. What pushes rents up and forced moves leading to more gentrification is higher taxes. What causes taxes to go up is projects like this PILOT. It is bacwards. Focus on the problem directly. If rents are too high, get the taxes down and reduce rents, either through a tax abatement to landlords or direct rent regulations and price caps. Another huge PILOT project degrades the city and is contrary to the current trajectory of its development.