Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The Cooper Square Hotel : How an Out of Scale and Context Building Looms and Encroaches , Overwhelming a Residential Neighborhood ...

A view of the entire shaft of the building on Bowery and the buildings adjacent that it dwarfs .

A view of the hotel and the buildings adjacent to an exterior entertainment area .

A view of an exterior space and the adjacent buildings windows . This will be used for dining and drinking ... and what else ?

An exterior space sitting cheek-by-jowl with the windows of next-door buildings . This space will be used for dining and drinking ...and what else ?

A view of the means of egress required for the fire-escapes for the old existing building next door .

Exterior space that will be used for outdoor dining and drinking ....and what else ?

An exposed concrete deck at the penthouse level , right above the next door building .

Some structural details where the building meets the adjacent building on Bowery .

A look at some custom concrete design .

The base of the building on Bowery .

We have posted twice previously of this building and the affect it is now having and will have in the future on the surrounding community . Again we state that this building is in our opinion clearly out of context where it stands and should never have been allowed to be built . This monster simply overwhelms and intimidates all that is around it .It dominates ... and brutally so . If architecture is as Mr. Venturi suggests a dialogue between generations then this abomination is just a monster child screaming at the top of its lungs.
Of course by the Zoning Resolutions of this city this building was built of right .The top law though in these situations is the NY State Multiple Dwelling Law and is not the building code nor the zoning resolutions . If the spirit of the MDL had been the controlling limiter of this building's bulk and height then this building would never have been allowed to be built . But that is just a dream so....
Perhaps in a Jetson-esque future with George , Jane and Astro somewhere in outer space or in a sheikdom on the Persian Gulf this building would be appropriate but not here , not today in the East Village . Perhaps on a west coast beach near some early deconstructed Gehry beach house that some of the building seems to be inspired by this building could be tolerated , but again not here where it is now standing .
The developers of this building , Moss/Peck , have spent a great deal of money , other peoples money to build this building . It was not an easy building to design and build . Without computers and sophisticated design algorithms to design the footings , concrete structural frame and the custom Gehry-esque exterior skin this building would likely not have been built. It simply would have been too expensive .
All those others that invested their money will want their payback , their profit as soon as possible . The operators of this hotel will have to quickly organize this hotel ,fill it with people and create income and profit in what ever way possible : this hotel will of financial necessity not just be hotel rooms , there will also be other entertainment activities that will almost certainly intrude on the people of the surrounding neighborhood far more than the handful of Hookers and drunks of the old Bowery ever did .
Lately most of the complaints from the community have been concerned with this additional entertainment activity that will generate a revenue stream that ,considering the cost of building and operating this building , will be absolutely necessary .
We show in the images the areas that will be used for outdoor dining , drinking and what ever else that will , of financial necessity , be associated with the exterior dining and drinking areas . These areas are cheek-by-jowl with the adjoining buildings all around this building .
The community has been assured by the developers that there will be no excessively loud or distubing activity . They have assured the neighbors that there will be no hip , upscale club scene that will ever be allowed to develope in any of these exterior spaces .That is , no horde of loud drunken partiers with bodyguards , limos and the concomitant noise and traffic jams on 5th street to intrude on what is a reasonsably quiet and orderly community .
The developers of this hotel have opportunisticaly signed on to a series of stipulations proposed by Community Boards 3 that will supposedly protect the community from a nightmare future that could include a wild club scene established at this hotel . It is claimed by the board that these stipulations will have teeth ... and they will , teeth of freshly risen bread dough : these stipulations limiting the hotel's operations will soon either come to be ignored or in time thier more restrictive limiting obligations simply will be officially forgiven by a future city administration . No beast can bite with such teeth not even our city government ...even if it were really, really inclined to do so .The Bloomberg administration has a very poor record of protecting or in any manner looking to the interests of the East Village community ... when a developers profits are at stake .
This is all about money , personal power and glory for those that choose to make wealth by imposing thier personal business plan on some portion of our city . With our current city administration it is as they say "money talks" , that is the top law .

Does the Asian Bar (next to this building I think) still have its terrasse ?
I do not know Olivier . It was more out away from other buildings . I will take a look .

Good to hear from you . How is life in Paris these days?
Thanks for the great article and pictures, Bob. As someone who lives nextdoor to this nightmare, it still amazes me that of all the possible configurations Peck/Moss chose to put the outdoor bar right up against as many apartments as possible.
As for the Asian pub, it's still there. But Cooper Union just sold the property to Peck/Moss. They admit they bought it just so no one else would. They're going to tear down the Asian pub and add to the hotel.
Yes their concern was not for you that live around their building .clearly the designers were interested in one thing : design this building to built as tall as possible on this assemblege of lots .Their challenge was Provide this smallish and high-priced boutique hotel with fabulous views that will justify what they want to charge for rooms and service and to hell with what the consequences are for you of this program and all the after-thought design and business descisions that of necessity have to be made . Carol ,You and your neighbor's well-being was not in their thoughts ... or in their computer algorithms .

This building could have been very different ; it did not have to be built in a way that will certainly inconvenience all of you . This building is a design failure ..
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