Building of the Day: 636 Pacific Street

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The BOTD is a no-frills look at interesting structures of all types and from all neighborhoods. There will be old, new, important, forgotten, public, private, good and bad. Whatever strikes our fancy. We hope you enjoy.

Address: 636 Pacific Street, near 6th Avenue
Name: Former Allied Storage Building, now Atlantic Arts Building
Neighborhood: Prospect Heights
Year Built: 1924
Architectural Style: Italian Renaissance Revival, morphing into early Art Deco
Architect: Chep Kingsley
Landmarked: No

Why chosen: This was built as the Allied Storage Building back in 1924. It was designed by Chicago architect Chep Kingsley, and was lauded by a storage industry magazine of its day, as the most beautiful and dignified storage building built in New York, and a complement to the new Williamsburg Savings Bank going up nearby. Self storage is a recent phenomenon of today’s consumer society, but in the 1920′s, only the rich could afford storage, and this building certainly looked quite elegant with its profusion of colorful cobalt and white glazed terra-cotta trim, and classical detail. There is an Italian Della Robbia style influence to the blue lozenges, as well as a clear early Deco influence in other motifs. Polychrome terra-cotta of this sort is a staple of early Art Deco architecfuture, coming out of the Art Nouveau tradition, and proceeding into the more familiar angular lines of later Art Deco. The building was owned by the same family until they sold it to the developers who turned it into much hyped loft-style condos in 2002. The developers renamed it the Atlantic Arts Building, although now it will be forever known as Daniel Goldstein’s Building. That is, until it’s torn down, which could happen at any time. Had this building been anywhere else, it would easily have been eligible for landmarking, as it is a rare example of Kingsley’s work in NY, as well as for its intrinsic beauty on its own, especially with the wealth of terra-cotta in the colors, materials and motifs here. The details are in excellent shape, and it is a rare piece of commercial architecture of this type and from this era. Wastefully, it will soon be rubble. I hope the terra-cotta is salvagable. That, and pictures will be all that is left.

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