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The New York Landmarks Conservancy and Brooklyn Historical Society are hosting events and tours later this month to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Law. The law made possible the creation of the city’s first historic district, Brooklyn Heights, in 1965. (Above, row houses in the Heights.) On Monday, March 30, Gregg Pasquarelli, principal of SHoP Architects, will discuss the firm’s plan to transform the landmarked Domino Sugar Factory on the Williamsburg waterfront. Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of the Architectural Record, will interview Pasquarelli at the Brooklyn Historical Society at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $10.

The next day, the Landmarks Conservancy will host a series of free panels and tours at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in Foley Square, in Manhattan. There will be tours of the courthouse from 5 to 5:45 pm, followed by a panel discussion with Kent Barwick, former LPC Chair and President Emeritus of Municipal Art Society; Andrew Berman, Executive Director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation; Peg Breen, President, The New York Landmarks Conservancy; Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic; Phillip Lopate, author and essayist; Gene A. Norman, former NYC LPC Chair and Principal of Architecture Plus!. See the full schedule for the events, which will happen Tuesday, March 31, from 5 to 8:30 pm at 40 Foley Square.

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Later this month, the Historic Districts Council will host a panel on the evolution of historic districts and the possible creation of new ones, as part of its Annual Preservation Conference Series. Panelists will explore the changing definition of what is considered worthy of preservation, which has slowly broadened from Brooklyn Heights, the first historic district, designated in 1965, to include areas with a mix of modern and industrial buildings, like the Soho Cast-Iron District. The panel, “Tomorrow’s Yesterdays: Historic Districts of the Future,” will take place in Gowanus, pictured above, and consider whether the eclectic, industrial neighborhood could ever gain landmark designation.

First, architectural historian Francis Morrone will give a presentation on the development of historic districts. Then urban planner Paul Graziano, Gowanus advocate Marlene Donnelly and Ward Dennis, a Columbia University professor and CB1 member, will discuss “potential historic districts, technological and bureaucratic strategies for looking ahead,” according to the HDC’s description. Pardon Me for Asking was the first to post about the panel, which will take place March 18 at 6:30 pm at the Shapeshifter Lab at 18 Whitewell Place. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted today to calendar Stone Avenue Library in Brownsville, a spokesperson for the agency told us. That means the William Tubby-designed Gothic Revival structure at 581 Mother Gaston Boulevard is one step closer to possibly someday being designated a landmark, as the LPC has decided it will hold a hearing to consider designation.

The Andrew Carnegie-financed library celebrated its 100-year anniversary and a renovation last year. It opened in September 1914 as one of the country’s first libraries built specifically for children, although today it is a general library. It was intended to look like a “fairy tale castle,” according to a story in the Times last year.

Castle-Like, Tubby-Designed Brownsville Library Celebrates 100 Years [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo via Historic Districts Council

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The new building planned for a vacant lot at 178 Court Street in Cobble Hill still hasn’t received Landmarks approval, because the commissioners sent the design back to the drawing board on Tuesday, YIMBY reported. PKSB Architects presented plans for a two-story red brick building with signboards, a painted steel cornice and a nine-foot bulkhead perched on top of the roof. It would house one or two retail tenants.

The LPC deemed it too plain and too tall, asked for “more inventive detailing,” a more established cornice and “broken down scale,” according to YIMBY. Meanwhile, the Historic Districts Council said in an email this week it supports the design but would like to see different signage:

HDC commends this design for its overall sensitivity of scale and materials. We do ask, though, that since the storefront will be considerably taller than those of its Court Street neighbors, the signage be incorporated into the glass transom, rather than on an additional sign band above.

The architects will work with the developer, Lonicera Partners, and return to the LPC next month with an updated design. What do you think of the look?

Landmarks Wants Tweaks to Proposal for New Building at 178 Court Street in Cobble Hill [NYY]
Modern Storefronts Planned for Empty Corner Lot on Court Street in Cobble Hill [Brownstoner]
Rendering by PSKB Architects via Cobble Hill Blog

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We’re happy to report that Historic Districts Council has chosen Crown Heights as one of the six neighborhoods where it will focus its preservation efforts in 2015. As part of its Six to Celebrate program, the Historic Districts Council will help the Crown Heights North Association revive its preservation campaign. Although Crown Heights has two historic districts, some of the neighborhood’s historic buildings are still at risk for development and demolition. Landmarks calendared Crown Heights North Phase III three years ago, but never voted on the expansion.

Another important — and ambitious — Six to Celebrate project is “Landmarks Under Consideration, Citywide.” These are 150 proposed landmarks that are unprotected, 96 of which Landmarks said it would “decalendar” before backing off the plan last year. The Council plans to “document, publicize and conduct community outreach” for all 150 sites to gather support for designation and to help LPC with its backlog. In Brooklyn, the list includes Green-Wood Cemetery, the Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House, and the Forman Building at 183 Broadway.

The Council offers help with research, landmarking, publicity and zoning to community groups in Six to Celebrate, and it hosts walking tours to raise awareness about a chosen neighborhood’s history and architecture.

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The first-ever Evelyn and Everett Ortner Preservation Awards will be given out Thursday at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, according to an email we received from one of the winners. The awards “recognize projects that are compatible with the historic architecture of Park Slope and interventions by individuals or groups to protect the neighborhood’s historic character,” said the Park Slope Civic Council, which chooses the winners. And they are:

*The award for Exterior Rehabilitation will go to 107 Prospect Park West, a single family mansion built in 1899 that was abandoned in the ’80s. After buying the house in 2011, Horrigan Development gutted and restored the decayed building, which had holes extending from the roof to the cellar and extensive water damage. The developer converted it to condos and rehabbed it into “a stately neo-Italian dwelling…that enhances the appearance of Prospect Park West,” according to the council.

*The Lincoln Place Block Association wins the award for Neighborhood Intervention. “As a result of their joint efforts, the residents were able to prevent alterations to a brownstone on their landmarked block that would have been detrimental to the appearance of their streetscape and backyards,” said the council in an email to us.

*And the Second Empire Victorian-style Henry Bristow School building at 417 6th Avenue, P.S. 39, pictured above, will receive the Exterior Restoration award. Brice Architecture revamped its severely damaged outside by replacing the cornice, fabricating and installing new decorative copper work, reconstructing the slate mansard roof and repointing the brick and stone masonry. Built in 1877, it’s one of the oldest continuously operating school buildings in the country.

*The award for Best New Construction will go to the energy-efficient two-family townhouse at 319 4th Street. Aspen Equities built the house in only eight months and incorporated green building materials, including a solar water heater, EnergyStar appliances and low VOC paints and adhesives throughout.

The Ortners, of course, were the noted preservationists who did so much to save Park Slope and helped launch the brownstoner movement across the country.

Ortner Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by New York Architecture Images

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We’re sad to report that the city plans to demolish the crumbling mid-19th century wood frame at 69 Vanderbilt Avenue in the Wallabout Historic District. The HPD filed an emergency demolition permit last week.

A complaint from June said the house was shaking and leaning, and the DOB report said “front porch is unstable…neighboring houses may be in danger.”

Back in August after the construction fence went up we speculated the city had no plans to tear it down. Unfortunately, we were wrong.

“The New York Landmarks Conservancy has had No. 69 on its endangered list for years,” said the New York Times’ Christopher Grey in 2010. “There are only two ways it could get off the list, and right now it’s more likely to go feet first.”

Thanks to Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership for the tip and the photo.

69 Vanderbilt Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project LDC

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A private Montessori school group is presenting its plans next week to alter the facade of a landmarked former movie theater at 292 Court Street in Cobble Hill. The school needs LPC approval to change the facade and “to install storefront infill, two barrier-free access ramps, a flag, a canopy, and an elevator bulkhead, “according to the LPC agendaCalifornia-based LePort Schools signed a lease in April for the 15,700-square-foot building, which includes an additional 6,000 square feet of rooftop and back terrace space, as we reported at the time.

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We found drawings posted to the fence for the complete restoration of the two houses at 578 and 580 Carlton Avenue in Prospect Heights that architect Rachel Frankel is handling. As you may recall, a developer bungled the renovation of 580, causing the dilapidated wood frame at 578 to collapse. Both landmarked homes were reduced to facades and put in braces last year.

Now 578 is getting a completely new three-story house and 580 has approved permits for a two-story addition and rehabilitation of the existing structure. Frankel is known for designing new buildings that look historically correct. Click through the jump to see a schematic and how the building site looks now.