Located in the Meatpacking District, 414 West 14th Street combines two adjacent nineteenth-century structures behind a restored brick facade. This project was the latest in a series of alterations to the properties, which, like many buildings in the area, had been adapted multiple times to accommodate new industries as the district evolved—and they had the architectural scars to show for it. The original four-story Italianate printing factory and stable was constructed in 1874; some 13 years later, an adjacent five-story structure was built borrowing many of the same details and facade elements. Both buildings were altered in the early twentieth century to accommodate meat storage and distribution, with changes including a new storefront, new ornament and a “false front” wall to raise the height of the original factory. After many more years and many more alterations, two very different buildings emerged: a narrow brick structure with an elaborate cornice, and a wider stucco building with an ersatz storefront.
The plan for this new commercial building was simple: unity through painstaking restoration. Restoring the brick facade was a delicate process that required great care in stripping away layer after layer of stucco and paint without damaging the original masonry. New punched openings were also added to continue the existing fenestration pattern across the false wall, and all the windows were updated with historically appropriate glazing. To further tie the facades together, a new cornice and new corbels were fabricated to match the detailed existing elements, and a continuous metal and glass canopy was added as a contemporary interpretation of the historic district’s most characteristic architectural feature. Beneath the canopy, former loading bays were replaced with contemporary glass storefronts.
Image Credits: Jimi Billingsley