A STITCH IN TIME
Byline: Daniela Gilbert
NEW YORK — Manhattan is rich in buildings that reflect and preserve the city’s culture and architecture, but few of them have paid homage to the art of American textile design.
The Textile Building — which stands on the corner of Leonard and Church Streets in TriBeCa’s East Historic District — is doing just that. Once home to textile offices and showrooms, The Textile Building is being converted by the development team of Chessed LLC and The Sunshine Group into a 46-unit loft condominium.
The architectural team has retained evidence of the building’s prior existence by using antique textiles in its design. Encased in glass and framed in custom lacquered raw steel, the fabrics are featured on all but one floor of the 12-story building.
The building was designed in 1901 by Henry J. Hardenbergh, the architect of the Dakota and the Plaza Hotel; the building’s new designer, Jay Valgora, former director of design at the Rockwell Group of Architects and now the principal in charge of design at The Walker Group/CNI, wanted to maintain the building’s rich history.
“When we design, we want the finished product to be about a real place and a real time,” he said. “I’m not interested in producing a themed look. Incorporating these antiqued textiles in the design, along with the use of present-day textiles throughout the lobby, allowed us to tell a complete story.”
Along with Marcia Delman, a consultant with expertise in textiles, and Steve Kitezh, head of materials for the firm, Valgora studied the more than 150 antique American textiles sourced by Delman. Eleven of them were chosen to be featured in the elevator lobbies of each residential floor.
Many of the antique textiles date to the turn of the century. Motifs include colorful geometrics and other graphic patterns, Amish quilt designs, cigar ribbons and cigarette silks used as advertising in the early 1900s.
In addition to the display of textiles, Valgora also preserved many of the building’s original features, including the elevator doors, which are engraved with a weaving machine motif; the original steel columns, and the building’s art deco stainless steel entry doors, which were added in the 1930s.
The $40 million project’s completion date is set for March 2000. Prices for the lofts range from $795,000 for a one bedroom to $6.5 million for the 6,800-square-foot duplex penthouse.