TITLE: Developers Turn to Materials of Old to Stand Out in Modern Era
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal
DATE: Sunday, June 20, 2016
WRITTEN BY: Zolan Kanno-Youngs
See the original article at www.wsj.com
Developer Scott Shnay wanted his new condominium building to pay homage to the industrial roots of its NoHo neighborhood in Manhattan while also standing out among the city’s forest of glass-sheathed towers.
He found his solution when his architect, Annabelle Selldorf, showed him a small piece of pumpkin-colored terra cotta that had been lying around her office. That was five years ago, and Mr. Shnay eventually used the terra cotta for the façade of his new building, known as 10 Bond Street, which sold out earlier this year.
“It’s not a glass sort of ethereal building, it has a gravitas to it,” said Mr. Shnay, a SK Development principal. “I think a lot of that comes back to the materials.”
Throughout the city, some developers are increasingly relying on terra cotta and other materials used extensively in the construction of buildings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For apartment buyers and developers, the old materials can evoke a certain authenticity and appeal to sustainability, especially in an era of shimmering contemporary towers made of aluminum and glass.
A similar rise in demand has been seen at Boston Valley Terra Cotta in Orchard Park, N.Y., near Buffalo, according to international sales manager Bill Pottle. Mr. Pottle said before 2000 the company only worked on restorations. But now half of its work is supplying materials for modern developments. Mr. Pottle said half of the company’s’ U.S. sales are for projects in New York City.