Crowning 980 Madison

Crowning 980 Madison

The Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved an addition to the Parke-Bernet building designed by Foster + Partners today.
Courtesy Foster + Partners

When Aby Rosen and Norman Foster first proposed an addition to the Parke-Bernet Building at 980 Madison Avenue, the result was a 22-story tower that was beloved by the architectural cognoscenti and the developer’s boldface friends, and hated by just about everybody else, including residents of the Carlyle Hotel across the street and, most importantly, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which The designers devised two dozen possible additions, and seriously considered one with a rounded central setback, seen third in the left row. The one above it is the preferred design. (Click to enlarge.)

courtesy LPC

Tierney took the opposite tack, noting that the building had been scaled down considerably over time, and praising the collaboration between the commission and the developer in getting it to that point. “It’s a very close question that requires discretion and judgment,” he said. “That’s why I think the process here is so important.”

Rosen also praised the process in a statement, despite the three years it took for his project to receive approval. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate that you can build with distinction in an historic district if you respond responsibly and work collaboratively with the landmarks commission,” he said. “The commissioners’ vote today demonstrates their confidence that our dedication to architectural integrity and the highest quality of materials will produce an exemplary result for the neighborhood and for the city.”

As for preservationists, feelings were mixed on the final results, but they too seemed happy the process was finally over. “Aby Rosen was determined to build on this building,” said Nadezhda Williams, a preservation associate at the Historic Districts Council. “At least it’s not as bad as before.”