14 January 2009

From 0 to 60

The folks at 37 Carroll Street—once the address of the Famous Hanging Facade—have certainly become busy little beavers over the past two months. For the last year, progress on the owner's grand scheme to convert a single building-less brick facade into a full structure with an adjoining neighbor brownstone had been halting at best. Workers came, worker went, little got done. The old cornice was taken off, and the facade was fitted with metal bindings. (See far below.) I figured the thing would be completed sometime around 2020.

But, lookee now! The metal girdle is gone. The old facade looks clean. It has rooms and floors behind it. And the new, neighboring building looks almost done as well, complete with sneaky bulkheads set back on the roof. Somebody's been drinking some Red Bull!

I rather like the job they've done. It's not super special (why do the red bricks of today seem so dull-looking?), but they've paid attention to details. Look how they've tried to match the front designs brick for brick, not in color, but in arrangement. Nice.

Which makes me thing. Has something changed in the building world out there? Have people finally ceased going to the cheapest, shoddiest option? I've noticed a few projects in my neighborhood recently (small projects, I grant you) that, while they're not beauty incarnate, are not crapitecture either. This, for instance. And this, and this. They show thought and an attention to detail and aesthetic affect. Who knows? Maybe we've turned a corner.

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