Tag Archives: NoLita

Puck Building – NoLita

The Puck Building – named for the magazine that originally had offices and printing presses here – was built in two sections: the north (shorter, Houston Street) end in 1886 and the south end seven years later, in 1893.

The massive structure was among the largest built in what was then the printing/publishing district, designed in the German variation of Romanesque Revival. However, the building’s chief architectural distinction is two gilt-covered statues of Puck, Shakespeare’s character (from “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”): The larger on the NE corner, a smaller version over the Lafayette Street entrance.

At this writing, the building’s cornice is being rebuilt to hide a penthouse recently (December 2011) approved by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Puck Building Vital Statistics
  • Location: 293 Lafayette Street at E Houston Street
  • Year completed: 1886 and 1893
  • Architect: Albert and Herman Wagner
  • Floors: 9
  • Style: Romanesque Revival
  • New York City Landmark: 1983
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1983
Puck Building Suggested Reading

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Mulberry House

Mulberry House demonstrates how architects can play zoning restrictions to circumvent the intent of community planning boards. Here, zoning restrictions were written to preserve the character of the neighborhood. (Mulberry House is directly across the street from the landmark Puck Building.) But as the architects described in ArchDaily:

“Making a literal interpretation of code written for classical ornamentation allowed us to project our enclosure over the property line at 10% intervals for every 100 square feet. Maximizing the amount of projected area, while minimizing the overall depth of the enclosure became key criteria for our design. When coupled with material properties and fabrication constraints, these criteria began to define an approach that was a contemporary reinterpretation of brick detailing. By customizing a standard precast brick panel system, we were able to achieve maximum effect at minimum cost. The building then becomes veiled by an textured wrapper around the street walls in contrast with the simplicity of the inner core.”

Whether you like SHoP Architects’ design or not, you have to admire the texture of the brickwork and its construction. Look up along the building’s southern edge on Mulberry Street, to see the brick-on-concrete panels.* And if you like to see how things are made, Mulberry House’s construction is richly documented on line – browse the Recommended Reading links below for very detailed views and explanations.

Alas, the original developer bailed out on this condo project when the real estate market tanked; the new developer has reconfigured Mulberry House as a rental building. The eight full-floor apartments start at $10,500/month; the one triplex penthouse is reportedly $25,000/month.

* In most modern construction, a steel and/or concrete frame supports the building; brick is only a decorative/protective skin that is attached to the frame.

Mulberry House Vital Statistics
Mulberry House Recommended Reading

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