SoHo Memory Project

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The SoHo Memory Project



An old city has a soul its neighborhoods, character their buildings, identity.

The city changes neighborhoods evolve buildings— if not destroyed—are adapted, reused Survival of the fittest.

Some may say this is loss (of soul, character, identity)

A loss is an end an end is a transition, a transition to new experiences.

An old city has a soul it transforms but glimpses of the past help us Glimpses of the past situate us in the present, help us envision the future.

ewa d . p o d g Ăł r s k a


THESIS Abstract / Questions / Personal Statement


PROJECT BACKGROUND The Soho Memory Project / What’s Next For SoHo?


CONTEXT SoHo History / The Artists / Cast Iron Architecture


SITE ANALYSIS Site History / Urban Context / Materiality / Interiority


PROGRAM CONSIDERATIONS Existing Program / Proposed Program & User Groups




DESIGN STRATEGY Biophilic Design (BD) Why? What? How? / BD Patterns / Evidence Based Design


DESIGN DEVELOPMENT Framework for Intervention / Project Goals / Concept Development


DESIGN PROPOSAL Architectural Drawings / Interior Perspectives / Materials / Systems & Sustainability


PRECEDENTS Primary / Secondary



“Preservation in all of its forms is not only important, but essential to how we situate ourselves in the present and how we envision our future.� yukie ohta , the soho memory project

THESIS ABSTRACT New York City’s SoHo neighborhood is dubbed as the poster child of adaptive reuse in America. Lush wilderness pre-colonization, the area was transformed to farmland and freed–slave settlement in the 17th century, wealthy residential, entertainment and later, a red–light district in mid–19th century, industrial center pre-war, and a hub for artists in the 1960s. SoHo has redefined the role of art in society, gave us loft living, creative placemaking, and—literally—the SoHo Effect. Nowadays, however, the neighborhood has lost its unique character and sense of community, becoming an archetype for urban homogeny and gentrification, fate shared by many cities around the world. Question remains: What is next for Soho? SoHo Memory Project (SMP) is an organization whose mission is to document and preserve the area’s past, believing that SoHo’s future can only be charted successful if informed by its history. The neighborhood is missing a historical center/exhibition space, where locals and visitors alike could discover its rich past. It desperately lacks a place where the community could congregate, socialize and organize. The community recently lost a battle to preserve the last remaining green outdoor space, the Elizabeth Street Garden. This project creates a physical location for the SoHo Memory Project that also serves as a community locus, and brings back artists to SoHo, offering artist–in–residence opportunities. Housed in an iconic cast–iron building—which has also had many lives—currently owned by one of SoHo’s last artists, the center allows for an active interaction and engagement with the local community and the broader public, triggering a memorialization process that will help shape SoHo’s future. The interior of the space reconnects the users with the much-needed nature through biophilic design features, recalling the deep memory of pre–colonized Mannahatta. The latter informs the design concept, inspired by the kinetic sculptures by the building’s long–time owner, honoring the memory of the site itself.



THESIS QUESTIONS In a place that is losing its collective meaning, can a physical location of the SoHo Memory Project assist with creating a neighborhood locus that would bring back the sense of community to SoHo?

How to balance a space that serves as both a historical center/exhibition space and a community hub? What would a design of this hybrid entail?

In a place of constant change that is New York City, how can one building honor the multi–faceted history of a neighborhood, reflect on the present and help to shape its future?

Considering the recent loss of SoHo’s only public garden, how can biophilic design be applied in an adaptive reuse project to create an inviting multi-use space, offering SoHo’s community access to nature in both direct and indirect ways?

What is a creative way to design a space for the SoHo Memory Project given the real–estate realities/pressures of today’s SoHo?


PERSONAL STATEMENT Contemplating my Thesis and recounting the numerous paths

I have a special relationship with SoHo. When I moved to New York

and turns related to each step of the process—from site to topic

and discovered this unique area revived by the artists, I dreamt

selection to design direction—I can’t help to notice the parallels

of one day being a part of it. Years later, when I was fortunate to

between this project and my life in general.

land a design job right on Broadway, I was crushed after realizing that the area has become a monolith of international retail, home

Someone once told me that all artists are homesick. My time at

of uninviting high-end boutiques, and streets flooded by tourists;

RISD has made me realize that I design interiors because I seek to

a neighborhood of transients. Traveling around the world, and

find a piece of my home in each of them. Having been uprooted

going back to my country’s capital of Warsaw, it became obvious

from my home country at fifteen years old and faced with a new

that the trend of uniformity, big retail, and the resulting loss of

reality of moving to the United States had a tremendous impact

neighborhoods’ identity, was robbing cities and neighborhoods of

on my life and the choices I have made. A child of new immigrants,

their character, communities and heritage.

I unconsciously felt a pressure to choose a stable and lucrative career path, and one in art or design did not seem appropriate. Yet,

When I decided to focus on a thesis project in SoHo, things started

every now and then, I felt a pull at my heartstrings telling me to

falling into place. Thanks to a friend, I found an amazing site, a 19th

follow my passions. This constant dichotomy of the “responsible”

century cast-iron building owned by one of SoHo’s last original

and “farfetched,” of the “reasonable” and the “romantic,” and

artists and his wife, who were gracious enough to invite me into

the questions of my identity and belonging, seem to constantly

their home and share its story. I discovered the SoHo Memory

influence my life decisions, both big and small.

Project and met its founder, Yukie Ohta, who has been on a mission to preserve SoHo’s unique history and dreamt of creating a

Initially, my site was a 13th century castle ruin in Poland. It

physical location for her non-profit for over a decade. Yukie, in turn,

connected my personal story and interest in Poland’s history with

connected me with scholar who studied the topic of placemaking

a newly found passion for Adaptive Reuse. Yet, I felt uneasy about

in SoHo.

the seemingly ideal choice. After much consideration, I shifted my focus to my adopted hometown of New York City, selecting a site in

When I asked Yukie about an ideal location, she instantly

the heart of SoHo, an area that is the epitome of adaptive reuse in

mentioned an iconic cast-iron building. When asked about what the

the United States.

neighborhood was missing, her initial reply was green space.


I too felt a desperate need for nature during my time in SoHo. In fact, living in New York City, has made me realize how greatly I missed the parks, orchards, forests and rivers of my old hometown, which I took for granted while growing up. I now know that the deep yearning for nature during my formative years in New York is the reason why I focus my practice on biophilic design. I seek to find a piece of home in every interior I envision, as we all innately crave and need a connection to our primordial home, nature; that is biophilia. This thesis is an extension of a travel research fellowship I completed in 2018 at Hart Howerton, where I studied the latest and best-in class examples of biophilic design across the United States in new construction. Creating a physical location for the SoHo Memory project, allows me to apply the biophilic design principles I learned during my fellowship to an adaptive reuse project. My aim is to create a healthy, wellness-oriented center for SoHo’s community, where all of its functions (exhibit, café, SoHo Memory Project’s office, and Artist in Residence spaces) will reflect green sensibilities informed by biophilic design; a true oasis in the center of SoHo.

o pp o s i t e

My siblings and I enjoying nature around my hometown of Stalowa Wola, Poland


to p

1955 Warsaw’s Street by Władysław Sławny b ot to m

Same Warsaw Street now


to p

1978 SoHo by A. Tannenbaum b ot to m l e f t

Nike store on Broadway, SoHo b ot to m

“Bag Lady” by Cameron Durham


a b ov e

Visitors to the Soho Memory Project Mobile Museum at the Judd Foundation, NYC







“I do think that SoHo lacks a locus where all stakeholders of the community could congregate, or have chance encounters. We have no ‘village square’ that serves this purpose, and one is sorely needed.” y u k i e o h ta , s o h o m e m o ry p r oj e c t


PROJECT BACKGROUND The SoHo Memory Project celebrates the history of SoHo as a New York City neighborhood. Its mission is two-fold:  to document the evolution of the area that is now called   SoHo from colonial days through the present, with a focus    on the decades between 1960–1980 when it was a vibrant  artists’ community. to preserve SoHo’s past so that present generations understand the neighborhood’s rich history and are informed as they shape its future (1)


soho memory project—mobile museum The SoHo Memory Project Mobile Museum navigates the bustling urban environment of today’s SoHo while showing us a glimpse of its past. Using unconventional media, it chronicles the evolution of SoHo from farmland to high–end retail hub, charting its cycles of development and thus placing current day SoHo in the context of New York City’s history. This exhibition is designed to be accessible to all audiences by including multiple entry points: objects, ephemera, photographs, sound, and video, as well as unconventional media, including 3–D printed miniatures, comic books, LP record jackets, family photo albums, a smelling station, and even Viewmaster viewers. (1)


what is next for soho if nothing changes? SoHo faces the same fate as other areas of the Manhattan, where “some of the city’s richest zip codes have become victims of their own affluence.” (1) The figure below presents the various stages of the neighborhood development through the lens of property values. The apparent inflation of values begs a question of what’s next for SoHo. (2)

Luxury Retail $300



In real 2012 $million


Garment Boom


Wealthy Residential Industrial Decline 100

Artists & Galleries

Sex Work



1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1870 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020


“Cities are all about loss. I get that. Intrinsically dynamic, cities have to change, or they end up like Venice, preserved in amber for the tourists. New York City, for all its might, is no more immune to economic sea changes than anyplace else—maybe less so.” kevin baker , harpers ’ s magazine

b e low

Sectoral Shares on SoHo Block 1834–2014


Jane Jacobs, the acclaimed author of The Death and Life of

becoming rich ghost–towns of empty storefronts. SoHo is faced

Great American Cities, was an activist who helped save NYC’s

with similar fate.

neighborhoods of Greenwich Village and SoHo from an urban development plan that would have otherwise destroyed these

The physical location for the Soho Memory Project, can be a center

areas. She fought against the “sterile, government–engineered

for both the community and visitors to congregate. Place where the

housing projects, which amputated as they were from the body

community starts to rebuild, where history is exposed and future is

of the city, were socially dead, leached of the street life that

charted. It can be the backbone that will support the next stage of

connected a community, the incidental public spaces that served

SoHo’s transformation.

as social moorings.” (1) The location of the project is an iconic cast–iron building that— Today, SoHo has become sterile, but in a different way. It is

like the neighborhood—has had many lives. It speaks to the

not a government project that has changed the face of this

opportunity in transformation, and offers hope for the future. The

neighborhood, but rather the big retail and resulting gentrification,

editorial of the first volume of the RISD IntAR Journal begins by

which has pushed the long–time inhabitants out of the area. The

expanding the definition of adaptive reuse from simply assigning

issue of land banking, where international wealthy elite allocates

new use to existing unused or underused buildings, to include the

money into real–estate without occupying their properties,

“continuation of cultural phenomena through built infrastructure,

perpetuates the issue. Not unique to New York, other global cities

connections across the fabric of time and space, and preservation

including London or Hong Kong, to name a few, face the same

of memory” in order to create “densely woven narratives of the


built environment with adaptive reuse as their tool.” (3)

SoHo has become a tourist shopping destination, one which

The other neighborhood Jane Jacobs helped save, Greenwich

a person passes through not dwells in; a neighborhood of

Village, has its own Historical Society, which advocates for historic

transients. As one author puts it, “Jane Jacobs’ ‘intricate ballet of

preservation in the neighborhood, and offers education programs

the streets’ is being rapidly eradicated by a predatory monoculture.

for kids, historical walks, community engagement (ex. treasure hunt

Everywhere, that which is universal and uniform prevails.” (2)

for children), talks by authors, etc. SoHo lacks such a locus for its community stakeholders.

This is not the final destination for SoHo, as it is faced with another transition. Other parts of the city have gone through similar transformations and now fallen victim to their own affluence,


a b ov e

Broadway Entertainment District in 1836









soho history introduction The area of today’s SoHo (South of Houston) became known under the current name only in the early 1960s. Today, many may equate this Lower Manhattan neighborhood with a popular tourist shopping destination, and a highly– gentrified area of the city. However, SoHo with its Landmark Cast Iron District, boasts a fascinating, multi–layered history. Part of the wilderness of Mannahatta (land of many hills, in the language of the region’s indigenous peoples, the Lenape) pre-colonization (1), the area was turned into farmlands, transformed into a residential and retail, later, a commercial and entertainment, and subsequently, an industrial part of town. After WWII, it was named Hell’s Hundred Acres, when most of the textile industry left, and the area was mostly abandoned. Saved by the artists who started illegally moving into abandoned factory buildings, and started to reuse these spaces as both studios and living quarters. Now it is mainly a shopping destination for tourists, with expensive boutiques lining its cobble stone streets.


pre–colonial and colonial times



early development



In early 1600s, the location of today’s SoHo was covered by grassy

It wasn’t until late 1700s when the area of today’s SoHo started to

hills, streams, meadows, forests and marshes, with trails cutting

develop. Broadway was extended beyond Canal Street in 1775, and

through this land connecting six villages inhabited by indigenous

only around 1811 the Collect Pond, originally a fresh–water source

people. A Dutch colony was established in Manhattan in 1624 by

that became a polluted health hazard, as well as a spring that

the Dutch West India Company, and was to the Southern tip of

ran along today’s Canal Street, were both filled in. Bayard Mount

the island, mostly due to natural barriers, that included the Collect

(highest point in Manhattan, over 100 feet above the present grade

Pond, Lispenard’s Meadow and Bayard Mount. These slowed

of Grand Street) along with other local hills were leveled to provide

northward expansion of the city.

material for filling–in the water features.

The area of today’s SoHo became farmland, and the Dutch West

Although still mainly farmland, the area started to see residential

India Company granted this land to freed–slaves, creating the

developments prior to the Revolutionary War, when multiple forts

first freed–slave settlement in Manhattan in 1644. Farmland was

were built in the location of today’s SoHo. After the war, the area

consequently bought out by a Dutchman, Augustus Hermann,

became a popular residential hub, first inhabited by the wealthy,

and upon his death, became the property of Nicholas Bayard, his

later by the middle class. The area was part of the Eight Ward, and

brother–in–law. After falling on hard times, Bayard was forced

by 1825 it was the most populous ward of the city. Some of the

to sell lots of farmland after the Revolutionary War. Many of the

early Federal style homes still exist. Around mid–1850s the area

streets of today’s SoHo still resemble the lots of farmland that

started to rapidly change. High–end retail moved in, as well as

Bayard subdivided for sale.

hotels, theaters and casinos.


Lispenard’s Meadow, N.E. corner of present Broadway & Spring St. in 1785


Collect Pond in 1798


1850s–WW II The area of today’s SoHo was an entertainment destination for

cast–iron buildings. According to an archival article from The New

both New Yorkers and visitors alike. However, this popularity slowly

York Times, “in typically sweeping fashion, the city’s redevelopment

brought the downfall to the area, especially once brothels became

king Robert Moses proposed during the 1950s the tearing down

a staple, turning the area into a Red Light District. Both residents

of those in SoHo to make room for an expressway that would cut

and retail started to move uptown, but their place was taken over

through lower Manhattan.” (2) It was saved by preservationists,

by light industry, especially fur and textiles, making the area

resident artists, and civic leaders, including the aforementioned

a center for commerce.

Jane Jacobs, thanks to whom the redevelopment plan was abolished.


University studies during the 1960s demonstrated the benefits of

Following the end of WWII, industry moved away from the area

rejuvenating cast–iron buildings, especially turning their sunny,

of today’s SoHo, often to Brooklyn, or—in the case of the textile

open interiors into artists’ studios. The architectural historians

industry—to the Southern states, and “small firms, import/export

James Marston Fitch, Henry Hope Reed and Margot Gayle

houses, the ‘rag-trade,’ and inexpensive clothing stores began to

argued passionately for their survival, and the Friends of Cast-

move in” (1) to the area, along with warehouses, parking garages

Iron Architecture was formed. By the early 1970s, the Landmarks

and gas stations. For about 60 years the area was in “limbo of small

Preservation Commission had declared SoHo a historic district and

industrial and commercial enterprises.”

moved to protect several of the cast-iron structures farther uptown.

A 1962 report by the City Club of New York, The Wastelands of New

In 1973, a large portion of SoHo was designated as SoHo–Cast

York City, named the area of SoHo “a commercial slum.” By that

Iron Historic District by the New York City Landmark Preservation

time, it was also known by another name, “Hell’s Hundred Acres.”

Commission. Bounded by West Houston, West Broadway, Canal

Abandoned warehouses, often full of merchandise, often fell a

and Crosby Streets, the area was listed on the National Register

victim of arson.

of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978. It was NYC’s 23rd historic district, and included 26 blocks and

The infamous area was to be transformed under the master city

approximately 500 buildings. In 2010, the SoHo–Cast Iron Historic

plan of Robert Moses, who proposed an expressway that would cut

District Extension was created to protect over 100 additional

across the neighborhood, and require demolition of the historical

buildings along the eastern and western borders of the original historic district.



Original SoHo–Cast Iron Historic District 1973 right


SoHo–Cast Iron Historic District Extension 2010


–c o

t as

n Iro

Historic District

1 97



soho artists

o r d e r ):

to p l e f t

Lynda Benglis, Sculptor

to p c e n t e r

Chuck Close, Painter

to p r i g h t

Fred Eversley, Sculptor

middle left



Donald Judd, artist

middle center

Alex Katz, Painter

middle right

Rebecca Kelly, Choreographer

b ot to m l e f t

Yvonne Rainer, Choreographer

b ot to m c e n t e r

Ali Rashied, Jazz Musician

b ot to m r i g h t

Andy Warhol, Artist

the artists Artists were the pioneers of SoHo’s revitalization and started

85 galleries (up from just three in 1970), two museums,

moving into the abandoned manufacturing buildings in 1960s (with

20 performance spaces (1)

some accounts dating the movement to 1950s.) Zoning laws were amended to allow for artists working/living quarter. “Spacious

The Designation Report made an interesting point regarding

studios in the old warehouses could accommodate their oversize

preservation: “with a little imagination, effort and ingenuity,

canvases and large sculptures and also provide space in which they

exciting alternatives to demolition can be found for the stagnant

and their families could live. Better still, the rents were low.” (1)

and decaying areas of our cities. These alternatives have the further advantage, which ‘slum clearance’ lacks, of preserving

By the early 1960s “a sizable number of artists were already living

the continuity of a city’s cultural and historic heritage—in the

furtively in this area, which was legally zoned for manufacturing.

case of the SoHo–Cast Iron District, the preservation of a unique

The fire department inveighed against these residents, saying it

concentration of structures of great historic significance.” (2)

would not know which buildings were occupied at night. But the intensive persuasion on the part of artists won them a zoning

Most, but not all of the SoHo buildings are cast–iron and many

amendment from the city that permitted certified artists to occupy

streets are paved with Belgian blocks. There are 30 Federal style

live–in, work–in quarters in the old buildings. AIR plaques (Artist–

houses included in the historic district. According to the report,

in–Residence) attached to appropriate entrances alerted the fire

“the use of the double name is also intended to suggest that,

department to people living above. Art galleries followed the artists

even architecturally, the District contains more than just cast–iron

downtown to SoHo.” (1)

buildings, important though they are. Indeed, the District contains some of the City’s most interesting extant examples of brick, stone

By the late 1970s, the abandoned industrial neighborhood, became

and mixed iron–and–masonry commercial construction of the post–

a world–renowned artist enclave with a plethora of art galleries.

Civil War period.” (3)

Some interesting facts from 1978: 5,000 of 8,000 total population were artists (painters, sculptors, dancers, actors, musicians, filmmakers, video artists, and writers) 23

cast iron architecture

history New York City has the greatest collection of cast–iron buildings in the world—about 250 structures—most of which are located in SoHo. Cast iron architecture reached the peak of popularity in the city between 1850s–1890s, when local businessmen commissioned their stores, office buildings, hotels and warehouses to be constructed in—what was at the time—modern style, with the use of the latest technology. (1) Before the introduction of metal into building construction, which was initially limited to architectural purposes such as roofing, the traditional construction was confined to wood and masonry, with wood being the original construction material in the United States. In New York City the majority of buildings before 1800s were of wood construction. Masonry followed suit and was considered “fireproof,” but even those buildings were mostly masonry skins surrounding wooden interior. Donald Friedman, author of Historical Building Construction, writes, “vertical supports consisted of masonry walls and piers, wood columns, and primitive wood–stud walls. Horizontal floor support was provided in ordinary construction by wood joists and beams, and in monumental construction by masonry vaults and arches.” (2) As such, these early buildings were small in size with maximum height of three–stories. What had an impact on their size in NYC was the 1811 gridiron street system, with most lots only 25 feet wide and most buildings covering only one lot. The development of cast–iron allowed for larger and taller buildings with greater ceiling heights and expansive windows. 24

“In the history of building structure, cast–iron, despite its other uses, is most significant for its role in facades, where it served as a visible symbol of changes in building techniques, demonstrated the utility and economy of industrial prefabrication, and started a discussion about frame construction that continued throughout the nineteenth century.” donald friedman


Catalog Pages from Badger’s Architectural Iron Works–New York


Although introduced to the USA around mid–1800s, the use of cast

his Catalogue of Cast–Iron Architecture. The catalogue featured

iron as a building material dates back to mid 18th century England.

pre–fabricated stock cast–iron pieces for order, as well as custom

Once it was discovered that pig iron could be heated and melted

made–to–order offerings. Badger’s foundry mass–produced the first

to remove impurities and consequently cast into sand molds of any

complete iron–front building.

size and shape, cast–iron became used in bridge construction as well as iron–framed textile mills. The new technique became later

Bogardus and Badger popularized cast–iron architecture

popular with greenhouses, followed by other building typologies

“emphasizing three points: speed of erection, entry of additional

(the greenhouses were precursors to the famous London Crystal

light into the building interior, and safety during fires.” (3)

Palace Exhibition Building by Joseph Paxton in 1851.) In fact,

Prefabricated iron parts were shipped across the country, and

cast–iron became “one of the most inexpensive and simple ways

so iron architecture made in New York can be found as far as

to construct large, boldly decorated buildings…ideally suited

Milwaukee, Savannah and San Francisco, but also in Upstate cities

the brash image that burgeoning New York businesses wished

of Rochester and Cooperstown.

to present.” (1) As one architectural historian writes, “finally, the simplicity of erection was such that an iron front could be raised


almost overnight, with no more tools than a wrench, much like a

Unlike in a masonry building, where exterior and interior walls

child’s Erector Set, since all parts were fastened together with nuts

bear the loads, in iron construction the load is borne by a skeleton

and bolts.” (2) Relative ease, speed and low–cost of fabrication

of vertical and horizontal rolled iron beams attached to exterior

made cast–iron popular, and in the years between 1860-1890, more commercial cast–iron buildings were erected in New York City than anywhere else in the world. The American success of cast iron as structural and architectural medium is credited to two contemporary engineers, Daniel D. Badger and James Bogardus. In 1850, Bogardus patented a complete iron building, composed of cast iron façade and columns and wrought iron floor beams. He contracted out the production work, and as a result, several large iron–works around New York City became known as building foundries. One of the foundries was the Architectural Iron Works by Daniel D. Badger, famous for


masonry walls. Cast iron façade, composed of bolted parts, is

commercial facades…The 5–foot–wide, 6– or 8–foot high windows

attached to the street wall. As Gerard R. Wolfe writes, “cast

made possible by iron fronts dramatically increased the amount of

iron, in effect, anticipated the principal of a modern skyscraper

natural light let into the buildings, an effect made more noticeable by

construction, where similar ‘curtain walls’ surround a structural steel

the relative thinness of the façade.” (2)

frame.” (1) With the growing popularity of wrought iron and later steel, cast– Originally, the cast–iron buildings were about four to six stories

iron ceased to be used by the end of the century. Friedman sums

high (in the advent of passenger elevator) and painted to resemble

up, “the disappearance of cast–iron by the end of the century was

stone structures, as those were historically associated with

the result of lessons learned about fire protection, the economic

architectural masterpieces. Typically, behind a cast–iron façade was

competition from steadily improving steel–frame and curtain–wall

an internal structure of brick–bearing walls with wooden beams,

design, and the increased need for building heights impractical in

joists, floors and, often, wooden staircases. In some cases, instead

cast iron.” (3)

of wood, the buildings featured iron–beamed masonry–arch floors. In general, one or two, and only occasionally three or four, cast–iron facades created the building’s skin. Larger buildings often boasted iron in stair elements (treads, raising, often the entire staircase,) which was done for fire safety. When cast iron occurred inside, it was mostly in the form of slender columns, which allowed for high ceilings and expansive, open–plan interiors. Such interior columns allowed the ceiling heights to go up to 16 or 18 feet. As Friedman states, “one of the true innovations of cast iron was the introduction of large windows throughout


Queen Victoria at the cast-iron Crystal Palace in London circa 1851 right

The E.V. Haughwout Building, first building with a commercial passanger elevator


“The production of iron architectural elements involved genuine craftsmanship and was a hot, dirty, and often dangerous business...As the elite members of the business, the patternmakers brought artistry and design skill together with technical knowledge of how molten metal would flow into complex molds and how much it would shrink when cooled.” margot gayle and vincent gillon


The prefabricated cast–iron parts were finished and smaller pieces assembled at the foundries. Foundries had fitting rooms where all the parts of the façades would be laid out in place, tested to fit, numbered, and covered with a coat of protective paint. This made the consequent on– site installation very simple, where pieces were bolted together and entire façade anchored to the side masonry walls. The fact that the buildings were often pre–fabricated and assembled at foundries raises an interesting question regarding the architect’s role in these buildings. The architects often planned the basic structures, and were involved with designing the general formula to be followed on the façade, but individual cast–iron members were often designed by the foundries. 28

Foundries also hired their own architects to design the decorative building details. Cast–iron made ornamentation easy, as Friedman states, “since antiquity statues and architectural ornament had been made in bronze; now in the 19th century they were being turned out in quantity in the far cheaper medium of iron.” (1) The first cast–iron structures imitated the style of stone buildings, copying French and Italian Renaissance motifs. This was followed by French Second Empire, and French Neo-Grec styles. Friedman continues, “the existing rows of cast-iron fronts in SoHo can be dated through their architectural styles, as that aspect of the building continuously evolved, but the different styles were applied to the same structural model.” (1)

pros and cons of cast–iron

evident that it was also was essential in the development of pre–fab

There were many reasons for using cast–iron in building. As

construction and mass–produced building systems, as well as the

mentioned above, it was lighter and cheaper than stone or brick,

first to popularize the open–plan, light–filled interiors, where large

parts could be easily and speedily cast and mass–produced,

windows allowed for natural light to permeate the spaces.

and any broken pieces could be recast and replaced. Moreover, molds of ornamentation, prefabricated in foundries, could be


used interchangeably for many buildings. Construction was

According to Friedman restoration or rehabilitation work on

fast, and only took few months per building. It was a much less

cast–iron structures can be complex. As he states, “unlike steel–

combustible material than wood, and with many fires damaging

framed buildings, which can be reinforced in straightforward ways,

entire neighborhoods, New Yorkers were seeking safer construction

buildings with wood–joists floors or cast iron columns may require

materials, and cast–iron seemed to offer the solution. It was also

replacement of structural systems in existing building stock.” (1)

lightning–proof, and—once painted—weather proof, requiring minimal maintenance. Iron expansion and contraction coefficient is similar to that of brick, to which it was often attached, which meant that parts would not easily separate in extreme weather. Besides


The E.V. Haughwout Building facade detail

the great structural integrity, this method of construction offered something very unique, more space (gained by elimination of bearing walls) and light from large window facades. There were also some disadvantages of using cast–iron. Contrary to popular belief, it was not fireproof and it was brittle, lacking the tensile strength of modern steel. In the case of a fire, although the structure could withstand the fire and only buckle from the heat, the cold water used by firefighters would cause it to crack. Moreover, rusting presented a constant problem, with moisture seeping into the parts. Despite its short–lived popularity, cast–iron architecture is often dubbed as the precursor for the modern steel skyscraper. It is














site location Mercer Street, New York, NY 10013 Commenced: 1868 Stories: 5 + usable basement Bays: 3 Architect: Louis Burger Original Owner: Henry Cardoza, merchant Original Function: Store / Restaurant & Hotel Facade: Marble and cast–iron ground floor Current owner: Artist (as of 1980) Building Width: 25ft Building Depth: 100ft Type: Industrial / Manufacturing Class: L9 (Loft Miscellaneous) Zoning: M1-5B




site history

the street Mercer Street, known originally as First Street or Clermont Street, was laid out prior to 1797. In 1799, its name was permanently changed to Mercer Street. The section of the street which lies within the Historic District was opened for development in 1809.

the block (mercer street from canal to grand street) This block contains the largest concentration of early buildings in the District. With the exceptions of No. 32 built in 1881-82 and No. 15-17 dating from 188586, no building on this block dates later than 1870-71. Eleven of the seventeen separate facades, in fact, date from 1861 or before. Due largely to these early dates, only three facades are executed completely in cast iron, yet almost all have originally had cast-iron storefronts and cornices.

the building 5–story building completed in 1868. Designed by Architect Louis Burger, is clad in stone, with a cast–iron storefront whose narrow columns and pilasters have Corinthian capitals. The upper floor windows are segmental-arched, and grow shorter as they ascend. A very narrow metal fire escape runs down the facade, which is crowned by a modillioned and dentiled roof cornice with a rounded pediment at the center. (1)


history of site as told by maria (owner)

“From its beginning, 1868 when it was built as hotel, with a

There are some original hotel doors in the basement, but a bit

restaurant on the storefront level and rooms along the length side

inconveniently placed, but at least one is easily visible as Fred

of the interior (mostly no windows) and each with a ‘pot belly

refused it as WC door on the third floor.

stoves’ in each room, and a middle corridor leading to the fire stair and window in the front middle of the facade.

And then all five chimneys x 2, along each length side, that must have been made to heat up each hotel room, with ‘pot belly stoves’

And then ca 1900–1980 (when Fred bought it) it was owned by two Italian brothers that used it as live/work for their families that had a recycling fabric business. The interior is pretty intact and one can see several original details from both eras, and then a few additions that Fred made, but he mostly cleaned it up and painted the interior white. The big change from the hotel to the fabric industry was that they installed a hoist elevator shaft, and added a stoop, as loading dock. This change is visible from both the interior, and exterior. The original stair went all way down to the ground where the stoop/ loading dock currently is, but one can see the original steps, that are still there, underneath of the new turned steps, that make the stair land in the main entrance room, instead of going straight down all the way, however the original stairs can still be seen in the basement ceiling.


are pretty visible on the various floors and especially on the roof.”

Pre 1600s 1600s–late 1700s late

1700s–1868 1868–1900 1900–1979 1980-Present 37

Artist Studio / Residence

Textile Recycling

Restaurant & Hotel

Industrial Building

House (1/2 Lot)



Brick or stone

Cast iron & stone

history of site as told by fred (owner)

I had the pleasure of meeting Fred when I visited the site. Although he was only in New York City for a few days (he shares his time between his Manhattan and Los Angeles studios), Fred welcomed me into his home and told me of its history. Here is some of the details from that conversation. Fred purchased the property in 1980. At the time, he was one of three bidders, the other two were artist co-ops, so popular in that day’s SoHo. The place has been owned by an Italian family who ran their fabric recycling business there since the 1800, A. Imperatrice & Sons. It was sold in 1979, and after just six months of ownership, that new owner was looking to “flip” the property. Fred was not looking to purchase an entire building. He wanted a loft apartment, but his real–estate agent felt strongly that he should consider this building. As Fred was the first one to see it—although there were others interested—Fred had “exclusivity,” but he had to decide fast. Fred found himself in a difficult position, a first–time buyer, he was busy with a big commission and so had limited time, and he could not consult with his father and brother who were away on business. He only saw the building once, and “inspected” it during a winter evening, with two lighters in hand. To convince him, his real–estate agent took Fred to see a lawyer, who coincidently wrote “The Artist’s Real Estate Handbook.” Fred decided to purchase the property, which turned out to be—as he says—probably the best investment of his life. One of the Italian brothers who owned the building introduced Fred to the neighbors. Fred told me a story how the owner asked 38

him to dinner and requested that he wears a suit. The restaurant turned out to be a hidden one where all men wore suits with white flowers in their lapels (sign of the mafia.) Once at the restaurant, the owner led Fred from table-to-table, introducing him to everyone and announcing his purchase of the property; he told them to look out for Fred. Fred still recalls this event with disbelief, but admits that once he moved in, he felt safe and protected, and someone even shoveled his snow in the winter. The Italian brothers also had their living quarters on the first floor. Fred showed me a very well concealed prohibition-era closet as well as a hidden safety box, recessed in the floor. One of the brothers told Fred the history of the building, how it used to be a hotel/boarding house with a restaurant on the first floor and a kitchen in the basement. Some of the original hotel doors still remain in the house. When he purchased the building, the brothers were still disassembling the machines that were used in their fabric recycling business. Once moved in, the first thing Fred did was to buy an industrial strength vacuum cleaner to remove the lint that covered every surface of the place, which took years. During his time there, he did not alter the existing interior, but made some improvements that made it livable. It was not until 1990s when he started working on the third floor, and for about ten years, he did not have a kitchen sink. Fred is the last artist on the block. He knows only one person, a teacher that lives across from his building, that has been there longer than him.


Fred, Owner



the neighborhood


soho historic district

2000 1000 0





18-34 White



2010 Demographics


the people

Afircan American



1978 vs 2010 Population



Area Boundary


















soho neighborhood

soho neighborhood: zip codes 10012 & 10013

Area Boundary



Total Population 51,240 Males 25,502 Female 25,738 % Change Since 2000 5.6% % Change Since 2010 -0.9% Median Age 36.10

Average Household Income Median Household Income % Change since 2000 % Change since 2010 Median Home Sale Price


Median Median Median Median

White Collar Blue Collar

23,432 11,091

23,432 11,091 56% 7% 2,381,250

2018 Demographics

Income By Age Income Income Income Income

Under 25 25-44 45-64 Over 65

30,088 80,342 81,127 63,229

greenwich village & soho

2015 Highest Educational Attainment


public transport / traffic





land use / zoning





Mixed Residential & Commercial / 23.29%

M1 districts typically include light industrial

Commercial & Office / 15.85% Multifamily Elevator / 13.25% Multifamily Walk-up / 9.46% Vacant Land / 3.64%

uses, such as woodworking shops, repair shops, wholesale service and storage facilities. Nearly all industrial uses are allowed in M1 districts if they meet the stringent M1 performance standards. Offices, hotels and most retail uses

Industrial & Manufacturing / 3.56%

are also permitted. In M1-5A and M1-5B districts

Open Space & Outodoor Recreation / 3.04%

mapped in SoHo/NoHo, artists may occupy joint

Parking Facilities / 1.85%

living-work quarters as an industrial use.






reet e r St Merc



Stone cladding

Basement Loading extends dock under sidewalk

Cast iron storefront

Basement level back– yard

1st Flr Skylights


Brick load– bearing walls




interior / existing conditions









traces of the past / floor 1


A Skylights at rear of the building

B Original wooden floor with latch door used to drop shredded fabric from 2nd floor into the basement / latch door in ceiling


C Original wooden floor with hidden safety box under floor

D Scale from early 1800s used to weigh fabrics that were shredded in the building



Hoist elevator shaft from early 1900s spans the height of the building and hardware used to hoist goods

F Painted tin ceiling tiles

C 51











traces of the past / floor 2





A Wooden latch door through which shredded fabric was dropped down into the basement (passing through 1st floor) for recycling

B Vents used for pot belly stoves used in the rooms of the boarding house (original building function)

C Concrete floor in a room where fabric was shredded for recycling

D Steel fireproof double doors lead to the concrete room with whitewashed brick walls

E Secret prohibition closet hidden under stair


F Window illuminates main existing stair that runs along one side of the structure











traces of the past / floor 5



A Original railings on top stair


B Original wood joists in the ceiling

C Hoist elevator mechanism from early 1900s

D Top of the hoist elevator shaft

E Window illuminates main existing stair that runs along one side of the structure




existing ext. stoop & elevator shaft

interior analysis

existing stairs







plans / existing







13’–6” C.H.

11’–0” C.H.

11’–0” C.H.

sections / existing

12’–7” C.H.


13’–11” C.H.

8’–8” C.H.






a b ov e

Housing Works Thrift Shop/Bookstore in SoHo, is dubbed as the last community space in the area







floor 5/storage

floor 4/working

floor 3/working

existing program

floor 2/living


floor 1/gallery



The site is occupied by Fred and his wife, Maria. The building serves as both a workspace and residence of the sculptor and architect/artist duo. The building’s basement, which extends under the front sidewalk, is a workshop. There are windows at the rear of the basement, which are currently enclosed, and a door that leads to the back yard. There is also a mechanical room and a WC in the front. Two sets of stairs, in the front and at the rear, lead from the basement to the first floor. There is also an unused elevator shaft at the front of the building that runs the entire height of the structure. Metal (diamond plate) stoop outside leads up to the loading dock in front of the shaft.

sitting room, with fireproof double door is in the rear and features The first floor storefront serves as a gallery as well as workshop.

painted concrete floor–this was where the fabric shredding took

Notable features include a scale that is recessed in the floor near

place 1900-1980. The back windows look out into the skylight and

the main door, and a secret safety box also recessed in the floor,

a small garden.

but in the rear. There are hinged openings in the floor and in the ceiling above it, which–when this was a fabric recycling business–

Third floor is where the artist has his private office. As is the case

were used to drop the fabric shreds from the second floor down

with the rest of the building, the floor is wooden and there is a

into the basement. Portion of the wood floor is original. There is a

bathroom in the rear of this floor. The forth floor is where Maria’s

WC near the entrance, and a set of skylights in the rear. The floor

office and guest area is located and it also serves as Maria’s

features a wooden loft space, where tools and artwork are stored.

workshop. This floor also includes a bathroom and has a wooden floors.

Long metal stairs on the right–hand side, located behind the elevator shaft, lead to the second floor. This is where the couple’s

The fifth floor is currently mostly used for storage. The ceiling here

main living quarters are located. Open plan living room and kitchen

exposes the wooden construction. The mechanism that used to hoist

occupy most of the floor. There is a bathroom near the kitchen, and

the front elevator is still mounted to the ceiling in the shaft. There is

a hidden prohibition closet is located under the stair next to it. The

also access to the rooftop via narrow stair at the rear of the floor.


“I imagine a place that has an auditorium for community board meetings and cultural events, an exhibition space, small meeting rooms, a large conference room, a recreational facility (basketball court?), a cafe, an event space, outdoor space of some kind (roof deck?), and perhaps a library/ archive. Basically, it would look like a really nice student center of a major university. But it would be accessible to all members of the community and it would, of course, be fully funded as a nonprofit! And, of course, it would be housed in a cast iron building originally built for manufacturing.�

ideal program

yukie ohta , soho memory project




“I imagine a place that has an auditorium for community

“I imagine a place that has an auditorium for community

board meetings and cultural events, an exhibition space,

board meetings and cultural events, an exhibition space,

small meeting rooms, a large conference room, a recreational

small meeting rooms, a large conference room, a recreational

facility (basketball court?), a cafe, an event space, outdoor

facility (basketball court?), a cafe, an event space, outdoor

space of some kind (roof deck?), and perhaps a library/archive.

space of some kind (roof deck?), and perhaps a library/archive.

Basically, it would look like a really nice student center of a

Basically, it would look like a really nice student center of a

major university. But it would be accessible to all members

major university. But it would be accessible to all members

of the community and it would, of course, be fully funded as

of the community and it would, of course, be fully funded as

a nonprofit! And, of course, it would be housed in a cast iron

a nonprofit! And, of course, it would be housed in a cast iron

building originally built for manufacturing.”

building originally built for manufacturing.”


“For years, the area remained unexpectedly small and quaint. But over the decades, SoHo... changed fundamentally, shaped—and, arguably, destroyed—by the very art world it had borne.” m . h . miller , the new york times

user groups

soho community

SoHo Memory Project (SMP)  Local community groups: SoHo Alliance, SoHo  Broadway Initiative, Clean Up SoHo  SoHo residents

user groups

Local business owners


People who work in SoHo  SoHo property owners


New Yorkers from other areas of the city  Tourists

proposed program

green roof

studio A.I.R. 2

living space

A.I.R. 1

smp office

meeting spaces



a.i.r. = Artist in Residence smp = SoHo Memory Project


“Until we can begin to understand how buildings affect individuals and communities emotionally, how they provide people with sense of joy, identity, and place, there is no way to distinguish architecture from any everyday act of construction.” kent bloomer , body , memory , and architecture

b e low

Bullet glass & vault lighting on Soho’s sidewalk




memory As this project evolved, the importance of memory—architecture connection, or the “spatial recall” emerged. After all, this project aims to preserve the memory of SoHo. But it wasn’t just the history of the neighborhood that influenced the design; equally important were the memory of the building itself, as well as the owner and his art. Select moments from the past informed the design, as the site transformed from wilderness, farmland, boarding house with a restaurant, textile recycling, to artist’s residence. Some original features from each of these moments still remain in the building and have inspired design decisions in both literal and conceptual ways. These unique features including two original textile scales, original concrete and wood floors and paneling, grid of tin ceilings, all remain. Others continue only as memories, having informed specific interventions. For example, the floor latch door on the first floor, originally used for dropping shredded fabric into the basement, became ‘enlarged’ as to connect the basement to the floor above and create a grand occupiable stair. This allowed for direct garden access from the main floor of the building. Another latch door on the second floor ‘shifted’ and ‘expanded,’ creating a larger opening that allows more light to enter the communal space below. A cafe at the entrance of the building is a nod to a restaurant that existed there in the late 19th century.



alternative lifestyle


artistic happening spirit of Bauhaus abstract expressionism minimal & found



new interior design for living


.I. R


art & production link kits of parts by artists

public policy to create neighborhoods through art


cast-iron architecture

role of arts in society gallery-driven commercial district

artists = victims & agents of gentrification

galleries move close to artists

emancipatory city


new tourist type

ts i n

So H o

survival of the fittest invasion/succession (ecology)

i MEMORY = ab


se u o ty t

as te xp eri en ces

creative placemaking

artist = central urban actor

th a p e to de termine our futur

urban loft typology



adaptive reuse of industrial spaces (this scale)


rp u o


Wood removed to create the grand stair is reused for railings

Gallery spaces and Artist-in-Residence accommodations, bring

throughout and ceiling treatment in the basement refuge area.

back art and artists to SoHo. It was artists who created this unique

That wood is ‘recycled’ inside the space, just like the fabric was in

neighborhood, and bringing them back is a major imperative

the building, starting in 1900. So is the white paneling (ship-lap

behind this project, especially given the current owner of the

and v-groove,) now reused for bases of seating and the cafe bar.


The back facade is replaced by glass and steel operable curtain-

Last but not least, the main design strategy, biophilic design,

wall, where the fenestration is informed by the position of the

recalls the deepest type of memory, the human-nature connection.

original windows. The material selected, black steel, harks back

Focusing on visual connection with nature, the space features

to the industrial nature of the building and the neighborhood.

exterior and interior gardens and a Japanese rain chain water feature (for both visual and non-visual connection.) The use

Folded perforated black steel sheets create the ‘irresistible’

of wood offers the material nature connection, and the excess

staircase, that connects the first floor with galleries above. This

rainwater from the green roof is treated and collected to irrigate

material not only creates a link with the new facade, but the

the vertical hydroponic garden located in the shaft of the

perforations are reminiscent of the typical SoHo vault lights

original hoist elevator. The public spaces provide a refuge for the

(remnants of which can still be seen in the basement of the

community, an oasis of nature and clean air in the middle of the

building.) The platform of the irresistible stair incorporates such

concrete jungle of New York City.

vault lights, which are also featured on the exterior stoop (originally diamond plate.)

In the following pages, I share some quotes (and a poem) about memory and spatial recall, which have influenced my approach to

One cannot help but to notice the resemblance between those vault lights and the ‘lens’ work of the current owner of the building. Also influenced by the owner’s kinetic sculptures is the fire stair design, enclosed in fire rated glass, so the movement of occupants taking the stairs is constantly visible.


this project.







memory & site interventions a travel of shredded fabric

through floor latch door

b ‘expanded’ existing latch door

c removed floor plate d garden spaces (inside & out)

e removed part of existing back facade for enlarged

outdoor space f new back facade informed by original windows


“The philosopher Edward S. Casey defines a ‘place’—as distinct from a ‘site’— as a physical location where memories can be contained and preserved... From an architect’s perspective, the transformation of a site (or you could call it a space) into a place is a two-way process. Erecting a structure enables the space to contain memories, and the installation of memories turns that structure into a place.” sarah c . rich , smithsonian . com

“The process used by Zumthor to reach the memory is the ‘architectonic dramatization’: maybe it’s the only possible way to remember, because it’s only through emotions that mankind can remember. “ marco masetti , archdaily . com

“Once, this materialization of memory and the spirit was evoked by religious buildings, spaces where memory and the spirit were housed, eloquently and enduringly, in architecture. With the re-evaluation of religion and the marginalization of most church design, it is now secular spaces that have this crucial function. Some recent monumental public architecture tends towards making functioning buildings fulfill a memorializing role, giving space within our cities and towns for the necessary release and reflection.” peter tonkin & janet laurence , architectureau . com


“Contemporary studies on memory also place significance on the manner in which context is experienced: ‘We do not perceive or remember in a vacuum. The context within which we experience an event will determine how that event is encoded and hence retained.’ Placing importance on how we can adapt a historical place to accommodate the needs of the present, allows for both the previous and current states to exist simultaneously. This referential procedure permits an individual to experience ambivalent impressions of place, stimulating the imagination in the reconstruction of memory, and deepening the connection to that place.” john n . blias , postmagazine . com

... O memory! thou midway world ‘Twixt earth and paradise, Where things decayed and loved ones lost In dreamy shadows rise, And, freed from all that’s earthly, vile, Seem hallowed, pure and bright, Like scenes in some enchanted isle All bathed in liquid light. As dusky mountains please the eye When twilight chases day; As bugle notes that, passing by, In distance die away; As, leaving some grand waterfall, We, lingering, list its roarSo memory will hallow all We’ve known but know no more. Near twenty years have passed away Since here I bid farewell To woods and fields, and scenes of play, And playmates loved so well. Where many were, but few remain Of old familiar things, But seeing them to mind again The lost and absent brings. ... abraham lincoln ,

“ memory ”


“What if we could experience the same physical, psychological, and emotional benefits moving through an urban landscape that we experienced walking through a forest? What if we could right our relationship with nature by transforming the built environment in a way that buildings functioned in harmony with the natural world?� amanda sturgeon , international living future institute


( ilfi )








“Let us be clear on this point: any occurrence of nature in the built environment cannot be called biophilic design if it has no bearing on our species’ inborn tendencies that have advanced our fitness and survival.” stephen r . kellert


Biophilic Design in New York City collage by Thrive Global


design strategy why biophilic design? When I first heard of biophilic design about a decade ago, I was unimpressed. In fact, the idea made me a little angry. It seemed like yet another humancentric approach focused on using nature to benefit people. I wondered, what was in it for nature? What was nature getting in return? What I realized later is that this anthropocentric focus is actually the strongest feature of such design approach. In biophilic design, it is the human need of health and well-being that is the driving force for creating sustainable, nature-centric habitats. This, in turn, benefits the environment, creating a virtuous cycle. Biophilic design satisfies people’s innate and essential need of connection with the natural world, resulting in health benefits and a noticeably improved quality of life. The impacts are tangible and, as research has shown, generate positive return on investment. When people recognize these benefits and realize that their very health depends on the nature around them, they become stewards of the environment. In his last book, Nature by Design, the late Stephen R. Kellert, the leading expert in the field who pioneered the concept of biophilic design in architecture, defines sustainable design as low–environmental–impact design. Many of today’s sustainable or green buildings successfully minimize or avoid a harmful impact on the environment and human health. But what if, instead of just minimizing its adverse effects, our built-environment could be


regenerative and actually improve our wellness? This is where the biophilic design approach comes into play. It is the missing piece of sustainable design whereby architecture and design go beyond simply decreasing the environmental impact of the structures and focus on creating healthy and productive habitats for humans. Biophilic design approach is heavily evidence-based. Although the research on its effects is ongoing, the results indicate unequivocal benefits of nature-full design and its positive impact on our health and wellness. This is not a new idea and humans instinctively know that exposure to nature is positive. We are drawn to it; for example, that’s why we pay premium for rooms with a view. As the city increasingly becomes our ‘natural habitat,’ people will actively seek out biophilic spaces to live, study and work. Even though a number of cities globally make commitments to sustainability, we are still to witness a shift from sustainable to regenerative design, i.e. one that focuses on renewal and the wellness of people. It is evident to me that this is the direction we are headed.


1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge by INC Architecture & Design, New York City



what is biophilic design?

Currently, about 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. The United Nations predicts this figure to increase to nearly

Biophilia, derived from Greek, means “love of life.” The term, first coined in the 1960’s by a German-American social psychologist Erich Fromm, stands for “the passionate love of life and of all that is alive.” In the early 1980’s, Harvard entomologist, E. O. Wilson, popularized the idea in his pivotal book, Biophilia. Wilson defined it as humans’ innate and evolutionarily–based need to connect with nature. The late Stephen R. Kellert, Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and senior research scholar at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, was one of the first who pioneered the concept of biophilic design in architecture. According to the biophilia hypothesis, humans are psychologically wired to respond to natural conditions such as the weather, seasonal changes and time of the day. For over 99% of the history as a species, we have evolved in adaptive response to the natural world. Historically, survival depended on our ability to act upon threats and opportunities the natural world offered. Knowledge of our surroundings and appropriate responses to natural cues (e.g. colors, shapes, forms, and light, to name a few) were necessary for us to survive and thrive. Consequently, with time, these successful adaptations became biologically encoded into humans and resulted in “a diverse set of inclinations to affiliate with natural patterns and processes.” (Kellert) Today, this close connection to the natural world remains one of our fundamental needs, necessary for our well-being and both, physical and mental health. With a shift from agrarian to urban lifestyle in the modern world, merely maintaining the connection proves to be a major challenge. 88

70% by 2050. Moreover, people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. If such man-made environments do not offer a genuine connection with nature, we become separated from an essential part of ourselves. As Florence Williams, the author of The Nature Fix, aptly states, “we’re losing our connection to nature more dramatically than ever before. Thanks to confluence of demographics and technology, we’ve pivoted further away from nature than any generation before us. At the same time, we’re increasingly burdened by chronic ailments made worse by time spent indoors, from myopia and vitamin D deficiency to obesity, depression, loneliness and anxiety among others.” Since the early 1980’s a body of academic and scientific research has developed testing E.O. Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis. We are, hence, at an exciting moment in time where this seemingly common-sense idea of nature’s positive impact on human health and well-being is legitimized by hard data. One of the first experiments using standards of modern medical research was conducted by Roger Ulrich, testing hospital recovery rates of patients exposed to nature. His study showed that mere views of nature were beneficial to patients’ rate of recovery post-surgery. Another one of Ulrich’s experiments, conducted nearly a decade later, involving heart surgery patients, tested whether simulated nature views had comparable effects as real views. Results proved beneficial effects from simulated nature, however not as strong as with real nature views.

In his writing, Kellert emphasizes that biophilic design is not

Patterns eight through ten, include biomorphic forms and patterns,

simply about bringing nature indoors. A lonely plant placed in a

natural materials, and complexity and order. Finally, Nature of

room does not equal to biophilic design. Biophilic design requires

the Space, i.e the final four Patterns, deal with the experiences of

engaging and interconnecting with natural features and processes.

prospect, refuge, mystery, and risk/peril in the space. These last

In his final book, Nature by Design, Kellert defines biophilic design

ones are – to me – the most exciting of the 14 Patterns.

as a “deliberate, systematic and informed approach to bringing beneficial contact with nature into the modern built environment.” He offers a comprehensive design framework, listing 9 basic principles, 3 elements and 25 attributes of biophilic design. Kellert, however, remains cautious that this practitioner’s list needs to be carefully tailored to particular uses, conditions, circumstances,

b e low

Windhover Contemplative Center by Aidlin Darling Design, Standford, CA

history and culture of a building or constructed landscape. Terrapin Bright Green (TBG), an environmental consulting and strategic planning firm, offers its version of the framework, identifying 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design. Building on the work by S. R. Kellert and other prominent researchers in the field, TBG’s publications provide guidelines for applying biophilic patterns as tools for improving health and well-being in the built environment. The 14 Patterns are grouped into three categories: Nature in the Space, Natural Analogues and Nature of the Space. Nature in the Space, i.e. the first seven Patterns, means direct presence of natural elements in a space or place, offering the user visual and/or nonvisual nature connection. It means plant and/or animal life, but also presence of water, fresh air, natural light, and non-rhythmic sensory stimuli resulting from some or all of these natural elements, as well as connection to natural systems. Next, Natural Analogues, i.e.


visual connection with nature non-visual connection with nature non-rhythmic sensory stimuli nature

thermal & airflow variability

in the space

presence of water dynamic & diffuse light connection with natural systems

biophilic design patterns

biomorphic forms & patterns



material connection with nature


complexity & order prospect refuge

nature of the space


mystery risk/peril






evidence–based design According to research studies, biophilic design impacts humans on multiple levels including cognition, psychology and physiology. Nature has a fascinating effect on our nervous system, more specifically the parasympathetic nervous system. In simple terms, our nervous system consists of a somatic and an autonomic nervous system. Somatic system involves the voluntary control of body, whereas the autonomic acts largely unconsciously, and is responsible such functions as breathing, the heartbeat, and digestive processes. The autonomic system is further broken down into a sympathetic and parasympathetic system. Sympathetic system activates the fight-or-flight response. It goes into action to prepare the body for physical or mental activity. When triggered by a stressor, it causes pupil dilation, increases muscle blood flow and tension, increases sweating, heart rate, and blood pressure. To conserve and concentrate energy, it slows down digestive activity. Parasympathetic system is the rest-and-digest system and has the has the opposite effect. It is responsible for relaxing the body, slowing many high energy functions, and returning to the state of homeostasis. Studies unequivocally show that human interaction with nature provides an increase in parasympathetic activity. It reduces stress and improves bodily function, helping our nervous system to reach the state of homeostasis. What biophilic design allows is to tap into the positive impact nature has on us on multiple levels. The following figure lists the biological responses to the Patterns


of biophilic design, according to research compiled by Terrapin Bright Green. • In the 2014 publication, 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design: Improving Health & Well-being in the Built Environment, Terrapin Bright Green has reviewed over 500 publications and a myriad of scientific research in support of its framework. Listed below are some highlight from the most recent studies supporting biophilia: • According to a 2017 global study in real estate, tech, and finance firms committed to workplace health and wellness design, 19% reported a decrease in absenteeism, 25% reported increased employee retention, and 47% reported increased employee engagement. • 2015 Human Spaces global study of 7,600 office workers from 16 countries, found that those who work in environments with natural elements report a 15% higher level of well-being, a 6% higher level of productivity and a 15% higher level of creativity than those who work in environments devoid of nature. Also, the study concluded that office design was so important to workers that a third (33%) of global respondents stated it would unequivocally affect their decision whether or not to work somewhere. • 2016 study from Harvard examined 10 high-performing buildings across five U.S. cities in order to study the relationship between the conditions inside the building and both the productivity and well-being of the occupants. The study found that occupants of green-certified, high-performing buildings saw

26% higher cognitive function scores, slept better and reported fewer health symptoms compared to those in similarly highperforming buildings that were “not green-certified.” • Google uses biophilic design elements such as light, water, natural materials and patterns, and different perspectives of space and place in office settings. Surveys have shown that Google employees who can see design elements that mimic nature from their desk report 11% higher overall satisfaction with their workspace and 13% higher satisfaction with its colors and textures. And 15% say their building sparks creativity. • Exeter University study found that employees were 15% more productive when working in a ‘green’ office than their peers in more spartan environment. A green office appeared to provide a boost to employee engagement, concentration levels and perceived air quality all showing a rise after the introduction of plants into the office. • The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) headquarters office was the first space in the world to achieve Platinum certification under both the WELL v1 and LEED (LEED ID+C) systems. In 2017, ASID reported that CO2 levels were down by 60%, sound levels decreased by 50%, collaborative work increased by 9%, and productivity increased by 16%, yielding an estimated $694,00 financial benefit.


Amazon Spheres by NBBJ, Seattle, WA


biophilic only if... There are a number of design considerations that are necessary for designing biophilic spaces, without which biophilic design simply cannot exist, no matter how many patterns are implemented. The most essential is the connection to the place and space. Whatever the design, it needs to be appropriate to its location, reflecting the local ecology and geology in the space. Ideally, it integrates with the landscape, and whenever possible, uses local plant species as well as locally sourced materials. Equally important is the focus on making connections to the culture and history of the place, space and its people. Stewardship and ownership of the spaces are key. Only when users feel a sense of ownership do they take care of their surroundings. According to the experts I spoke with, if the users are involved and have a say in the initial design process, they feel more connected to the place. The ultimate goal is to create spaces that people love and want to care for, and that they want to see thrive and exist for a long time. Longevity of the buildings is essential in creating biophilic spaces.


a b ov e

Etsy HQ by Gensler Brooklyn, NY








framework for intervention design inspired and related to the memory/history of soho, the site and its owner

design proposal to respect the historical designation of the cast–iron site and its surroundings

• restoration work required on the historic front facade, including the cast-iron storefront and stone cladding • NY Landmark Preservation Commission allows for a rooftop addition, which cannot be visible sustainable practice as imperative

• adaptive reuse as innately sustainable • biophilic design framework to be applied in the design of the interior / to follow LBG’s Biophilic Design Exploration Guidebook (1) • green roof as imperative (extensive option) • multiple gardens throughout interior to provide glimpses into the past, but be renovated and use–value restored

• highly flexible and adaptable space as imperative material considerations

• locally sourced materials • material selection to follow the ILFI’s Materials Petal Guidelines (2)


potential for green roof

one story addition atop allowed up to 11’-0” OH / min 3’-0” away from building front & rear / addition to be invisible from street level

alley in the rear/limited room for addition

initial design considerations

original stone cladding to be restored


existing windows to be replaced with energy efficient option historic cast iron storefront facade to be restored (including original fire-escape)

ADA access to be implemented

existing elevator shaft to be repurposed existing stoop to be restored

project goals design to reflect the memory/history of the building, its owner, and the unique SoHo location and its memory to implement biophilic design patterns in an adaptive reuse project to create a refuge space in the middle of a dense neighborhood that will engage with the community; an open and welcoming space for both the community members and visitors to implement sustainable design solutions with a focus on the health and wellness of the users to offer a safe public space that is secure yet feels inviting to become a destination where people will want to spend time and return


preliminary concept ideas 102

to plant

to carve out & subtract & plant

remove slabs

step back of building

insert nature

allow for balconies

nature = deep memory

allow for more natural light

to core & subtract & plant

to disrupt & shift

to drape & shred

create central courtyard

dichotomy of user & of SoHo

reflect building’s history

allow for more natural light

create moments of glimpses

represent fabric’s journey

democratic (central) gesture

allow for more natural light

wholeness vs partition 103

preliminary concept models 104

biophilia / memory of nature / light / openness / transparency

memory of Mannahatta (removing the interior to plant a garden)

forces / pressures (density of SoHo, economic pressures)

memory of building as a textile recycling facility / shredded fabric

green roofs & wall (considering the neighboring low building)

air & A.I.R. / transparency / visibility / organic forms / metal (industrial past)

challenging the existing forms / juxtaposing the linearity of the space

changes / shifts / movement / flexibility / uncertainty


shifting floor plates challenge the linearity of the space connection between levels express movement & energy

concept models

provide element of ‘risk and peril’ (biophilic design pattern)


central gesture expressing movement and vertical progression consider circulation (elevator and main stair) as one system test spatial requirements/possibilities consider light wells

utilize the otherwise ‘wasted’ basement level and create a ‘grand stair’ rethink connection to the back garden (currently only accessible from the basement level) contemplate the idea of rooftop addition consider sun expwosure and possibilities of rooftop photovoltaic system

create bridges between different function areas on various floors interpretation of A.I.R. & literal translation into a spatial intervention (AIR bridges) connection between various levels via breaking and shifting of floor plates 107

“Humans climbed down from trees and created architecture using geometry. It was considered a human virtue to create geometric order in a naturally chaotic world. Ever since, architecture has been received and appreciated as distinct from nature...Architects must again become part of nature, one that breathes and is congruous with the environment.� toyo ito











Front elevation scale: NTS





m a i n f lo o r (c a f e /e x h i b i t ) sca le : N TS












vertical garden


f i r e s ta i r


p l a n t s a b o v e s e at i n g


entry vestibule


s to r a g e


j apa n e s e c h a i n r a i n wat e r f e at u r e






existing scale


c o m m u n i t y spa c e



design proposal

visual connection with nature

Vertical garden @ shaft Vegetated installation @ cafe bar Vines @ back

connection with natural systems

Hydroponic garden @ shaft irrigated from rainwater collected from green roof Patina of time visible in existing materials throughout the space


material connection with nature

Reuse of existing wood (floor and paneling)


Sound of water, glimpse of water feature through stair perforations, partially removed floor plate


Unobstructed view toward garden in the back



At the entry view at cafe & gallery (I)



visual connection with nature

Plants @ seating & garden

presence of water

Japanese chain water feature

non-rhythmic sensory stimuli

Water feature programmed to respond to weather changes

connection with natural systems

Local species @ garden attract native birds and insects

non-visual connection with nature

Sounds of water, scents from plants, herbs and flowers


Removed floor plate & grand occupiable stair

Water feature



Garden view (II)








b as e m e n t ( g a r d e n / e x h i b i t / a r c h i v e ) sca le : N TS







vertical garden


f i r e s ta i r





soho memory project archive

existing scale


s to r a g e






r a i n wat e r t r e at m e n t / s to r a g e & m e c h a n i c a l


c o m m u n i t y spa c e


g r a n d s ta i r j apa n e s e r a i n c h a i n

wat e r f e at u r e outdoor garden




Seating nook with lowered ceiling

complexity and order

Lowered ceiling at the refuge space

material connection with nature

Reuse of existing wood (floor and paneling)

biomorphic forms & patterns

Deconstructed rose pattern on seating upholstery

dynamic & diffuse light

Natural light from doubleheight operable curtain wall

thermal & airflow variability

Operable windows & door to garden



Refuge & gallery at the garden level (III)




non-rhythmic sensory stimuli

Water feature & pattern at refuge area ceiling


Grand occupiable stair/ perforated irresistible stair


Exhibit hall leads to the archive in the back of the space

complexity & order

‘Pixelated’ lowered ceiling above the refuge space

material connection with nature

Use of reclaimed wood and paneling



Toward the grand stair (IV)





second floor sca le : N TS


( art

galleries )








vertical garden


j a n i to r ’ s c l o s e t






g a l l e r y s to r a g e


b r i d g e to b a l c o n y


f i r e s ta i r


b a lco n y



plant views @ balcony

operable windows

natural light


opening in floor

glass railing



& right

View toward balcony on 2nd floor (V & VI)






third floor ( workplace & meeting ) sca le : N TS







vertical garden


f i r e e g r e ss


naava green wall



soho memory project meeting nook

soho memory project offices



conference / meeting room

soho memory project mobile museum






fourth floor ( artist in residence ) sca le : N TS









vertical garden


artist residence #1


indoor garden


f i r e e g r e ss


artist in residence shared living space




n aava g r e e n wa l l



Double-height interior garden @ Artist in Residence spaces


plants inside garden pebbles @ garden refuge operable roof diffused/dappled light flowering plants wood mullions @ garden’s structure



View toward garden from shared Artist in Residence living space






fifth floor ( artist in residence & studio ) Scale : NTS







vertical garden




artist residence #2


s h a r e d s t u d i o spa c e


indoor garden


n aava g r e e n wa l l


f i r e e g r e ss


a b ov e

Staircase on the main floor (platforms feature Glass Bullet & Cast Iron Vault Light System by Circle Redmont) right

Longitudinal Section scale: NTS


section detail/structural considerations

Glass railing


Perforated metal deck by McNichols

Original brick construction

Original floor joists

Frame as vierendeel truss support/ steel frame with Thermal Evolution Technology by Hope’s Windows Steel beam support

a b ov e

Simpson Top Flange Joist Hanger Detail scale: NTS


Section detail scale: NTS







existing tin tile ceiling throughout


baux acoustical panels at garden level


fabric @ garden level seating




existing concrete floor @ garden level










existing brick throughout ( to be

black steel @ back windows


re - purposed existing ship - lap panels




fabric @ main level seating


& railings throughout

@ CUSTOM seating base & bar base


select materials & ff&e’s

black )


eco - top counter tops @ kitchens

perforated metal @ irresistible stair ( in


/ distressed concrete @ fire stair

painted white on floors 1-5)



/ distressed concrete counter @ cafe


fabrics @ garden level

cork floor @ archive existing oak floor floor 1-5 / reuse of wood from removed floor

bullet glass & vault lighting exterior stoop and platforms @ ‘ irresistible

stair ’ on the main floor








median mono by apparatus studio @ cafe



clarkester chair & stool by tronk

@ cafe & refuge on garden level vintage ronald rainer chair @ first / main floor tables

e f


naava green wall throughout sit / stand migration desk by steelcase

@ soho memory project ’ s offices

c 2 c think chair by steelcase @ offices




2 5

7 4 6






+ natural ventilation operable windows on front and back facade back facade: automated system w/ user overwrite

natural ventilation operable windows on roof create a chimney effect

mechanical ventilation heat recovery ventilation system with energy recovery vent (ERV) located on each floor

water cycle excess rain water diverted to filtration and storage unit & reused in hydroponic vertical garden

water cycle closed-loop irrigation for Japanese chain water feature

additional solutions


Solar film glass on roof of the ‘loft tower’ (Pilkington Sunplus NEXBuilding PVs)


Interior garden wall tilted for maximum sun exposure


Extensive green roof local plant species to attract local birds & insects


Hydroponic vertical garden in existing elevator shaft space

Thermal comfort Thermostat-controlled zones Lighting Energy efficient LED lights throughout Circadian-rhythm lighting Use-activated light sensors Air quality


Operable thermal curtain wall back facade (Hope’s Windows)


Garden for Artist-in-Residence (A.I.R.) spaces

Automated blinds Automated operable windows w/ overwrite


Gray water recovery (water from sinks and showers to be used for toilet flushing) Low flow water fixtures



New operable highperformance thermal windows (reduce heat loss, passive solar heating)

Green wall in back garden with diverse, local plant species & herbs

Dashboard by lobby monitors indoor air quality (Aircuity System) Energy High-efficiency appliances (cafe, residential) Continuous insulation with no thermal bridges Recycled denim insulation for new partitions Sound insulation [A] Acoustic solution by BAUX (100% bio-based & biodegradable) Water feature (sound, air quality) [B] Japanese rain chain water feature, controlled to respond to weather conditions (does not add moisture to air as a standard indoor waterfall feature would)






by Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu Ghent, Belgium



Prada Epicenter by OMA SoHo, New York City

Tenament Museum Additon by Perkins Eastman Lower East Side, New York City

Community Center in Aomori by Kengo Kuma Aomori, Japan

I am Lost in Paris by R&Sie(n) Paris, France


design implements ‘apertures’ that establish visual relationships between the floors; the focus is on the play of a series of new and existing internal vistas preexisting interior elements, such as the chimney, fragments of stucco decoration, architraves and wainscoting are preserved chameleon-like back addition leads to a residential unit located in the store’s building 144


“To take along history today; that is what has to be

Location: Ghent, Belgium

expected of sustainability. Not only can a technical

Designer: Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu

dimension be added to achieve this.�

Year: 2011 Area: 8,342 sqft / site: 3,121 sqft Type: Mixed use (retail + residential)


designed to be a an exclusive boutique, a public space, a gallery, a performance space, a laboratory failed attempt at community space (luxury brand deters many visitors) a unique ‘wave’ insertion into an excavated basement (clever column support solution) 146

Prada Epicenter Location: SoHo, New York City Designer: Rem Koolhaas & Ole Scheeren Year: 2001 Area: 23,573 sqft Type: Retail / Performance Space


final stage of the 20-year long renovation focused on the restoration of the 19th century building, revealing and emphasizing its original elements including cast-iron columns and signage sensitive intervention and judicious use of new materials are key in the project


original building elements served as an inspiration for modern elements incorporated into the spaces the visitor center includes showroom, a gallery, teaching and demo spaces

Tenement Museum

“Now transformed into a transparent, open, and

Location: Lower East Side, New York City

inviting storefront, the space literally embodies the

Designer: Perkins Eastman

Museum’s mission: “Revealing the past. Challenging

Year: 2018

the future.”

Area: 25,000 sqft - 100,000 sqft Type: Museum


Community Center in Amori Location: Aomori, Japan Designer: Kengo Kuma Area: 19,375 sqft Type: Public

wooden community center’s main feature is an undulation playroom for children exterior paneling reveals activities taking place inside, creating a “warm and friendly face to the street” traditional tatami mats and Shoji screens are incorporated, making a cultural connection program includes playscape, nursery, exhibition space, kitchen studio, multipurpose rooms, offices, meeting rooms and a large central foyer connecting all spaces 150

I Am Lost in Paris Location: Paris, France Designer: R&Sie(n) Area: 1,400 sqft Type: Residential

1,200 ferns surround the experimental house in a Parisian courtyard, nourished by rainwater, and bacteria grown in glass raspberry-like beakers the hydroponic system is housed in a basement of the two-story structure the entire house is covered in a shaggy green coat, “an antithesis to Paris’manicured urban condition”




NOTES soho history

Report that coined the term SoHo Rapkin, Chester. 1963. The South

New York, a Guide to the Metropolis: Walking Tours of Architecture

Houston Industrial Area: A Study of the Economic Significance

and History. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

of Firms, the Physical Quality of Buildings, and the Real Estate Market in an Old Loft Section of Lower Manhattan. https://books.

History of SoHo podcast “Collect Pond and Canal Street -

The Bowery Boys: New York City History.” n.d. http://www.


Original designation report includes history and background information, as well as specific city block details. Landmarks

A detailed account of SoHo’s history and transformation “The

Preservation Commission, City of New York. SoHo Cast Iron Historic

Story of SoHo: The Iron-Clad History of ‘Hell’s Hundred Acres’

District Designation Report. 1973.

- The Bowery Boys: New York City History.” n.d. http://www.


NYC before European settlements in its natural state. Sanderson, Eric W. 2009. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City. New

Article about SoHo’s last artists “The Last Artists of SoHo (and

York: Abrams.

TriBeCa) - The New York Times.” n.d. https://www.nytimes. com/2018/04/17/t-magazine/soho-artists-john-newman-laurie-

Neighborhood guide based on recommendations of local


community Siegfried, Alanna, and Helene Zucker Seeman. 1978. SoHo: A Guide. New York: Neal-Schuman.

SoHo’s history with focus on the artists Gayle, Margot. 1983. Friends of Cast Iron Architecture presents A walking tour of cast-

Author talks about loss of heritage and the importance of

iron architecture in SoHo.

preservation; a succinct introduction to cast-iron architecture


and a good overview of the history of SoHo Wolfe, Gerard R. 1994. 154

Multiple posts describing the History of SoHo “Home | SoHo

Architecture. New York: Dover Publications.

Memory Project.” n.d. History of Soho with good overview of cast-iron architecture. Siegfried, Alanna, and Helene Zucker Seeman. 1978. SoHo: A Guide. cast iron architecture

New York: Neal-Schuman.

History of cast-iron architecture “Rediscovering An Ornate Cast

Structural details about cast iron architecture explained very well.

Of Cast-Iron Buildings—The New York Times.” n.d. https://www.

Friedman, Donald. 2010. Historical Building Construction: Design,

Materials & Technology. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

cast-iron-buildings.html. Brief introduction into cast-iron architecture and a photographic


catalog of the plethora of cast-iron buildings in the city. Gayle, Margot, and Vincent Gillon. 1974. Cast-Iron Architecture in New

NY Landmarks Preservation Commission website “Discover

York: A Photographic Survey. New York: Dover Publications.

New York City Landmarks.” n.d. Accessed December 7, 2018.

Brief but solid overview of cast-iron architecture. A guidebook


of NYC through the eyes of architecture historian. Wolfe, Gerard

Information about the Greenwich Village Society for Historic

R. 1994. New York, a Guide to the Metropolis: Walking Tours of

Preservation “GVSHP | About Us.” n.d. Accessed December 7, 2018.

Architecture and History. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 173.

Catalog of cast-iron parts by a The Architectural Iron Works of the

NYC Department of Finance gives details about property

City of New York, the prominent manufacturer of cast-iron parts.

ownership “ACRIS Document Search.” n.d.

Badger, Daniel D. 1981. Badger’s Illustrated Catalogue of Cast-Iron



Urban Ecology and invasion-cussession of SoHo - unique

subway to “land banking” and community loss Baker, Kevin. 2018.

approach to explaining gentrification. Hudson, James R. 1987. The

“The Death of a Once Great City.” Harper’s Magazine, July 2018.

Unanticipated City: Loft Conversions in Lower Manhattan. Amherst:

University of Massachusetts Press.


Loft living, SoHo artists and history overview. Shkuda, Aaron. 2016.

15 Jane Jacobs, the acclaimed author Jacobs, Jane. 1961. The

The Lofts of SoHo: Gentrification, Art, and Industry in New York,

Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House.

1950-1980. Historical Studies of Urban America. Chicago ; London: The University of Chicago Press.

15 (1) Introduction to work by Jane Jacobs Barnet, Andrea. 2018. Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World. HarperCollins Publishers.

by page numbers

15  (2) Baker, Kevin. 2018. “The Death of a Once Great City.” 10 SoHo Memory Project Mission Ohta, Yukie. “About The Project

Harper’s Magazine, July 2018.

| SoHo Memory Project.”


12 (1) Mobile Museum of the SoHo Memory Project Ohta, Yukie.

15 (3) First Volume of IntAR’s journal, expands on basic

“About The Project | SoHo Memory Project.” https://sohomemory.

definition of the field of adaptive reuse Berger, Markus, Heinrich


Hermann, Liliane Wong, and Rhode Island School of Design, eds. 2009. Int/AR: Interventions, Adaptive Reuse. Providence: Rhode

13 (1) SoHo faces the same fate Thompson, Derek. How Manhattan

Island School of Design, Dept. of Interior Architecture.

Became a Rich Ghost Town New York’s empty storefronts are a dark omen for the future of cities. 2018. The Atlantic.

18  (1) Sanderson, Eric W. 2009. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City. New York: Abrams.

13 (2) The apparent inflation of values, begs a question

20  (1) Siegfried, Alanna, and Helene Zucker Seeman. 1978. SoHo:

“Greene Street: A Long History of a Short Block – Development

A Guide. New York: Neal-Schuman.

Research Institute.” 2015. nyu-development-research-institute-announces-the-launch-of-the-

20  (2) Kimmelman, Michael. 1988. “Rediscovering An Ornate Cast


Of Cast-Iron Buildings.” The New York Times, April 22, 1988, sec. Arts.

14 Quote / Author exposes the problems faced by NYC in its current state, from issues of high rents, and the overcrowded



23  (1) & (2) Siegfried, Alanna, and Helene Zucker Seeman. 1978.

27  (2) Friedman, Donald. 2010. Historical Building Construction:

SoHo: A Guide. New York: Neal-Schuman.

Design, Materials & Technology. 2nd ed. NY: W.W. Norton & Co. 38 27  (3) Friedman, Donald. 2010. Historical Building Construction:

23  (3) Landmarks Preservation Commission, City of New York.

Design, Materials & Technology. 2nd ed. NY: W.W. Norton & Co. 48

SoHo Cast Iron Historic District Designation Report. 1973.

28 Quote by Gayle, Margot, and Vincent Gillon. 1974. Cast-Iron Architecture in New York: A Photographic Survey. New York: Dover

24  (1) Gayle, Margot, and Vincent Gillon. 1974. Cast–Iron

Publications. VI

Architecture in New York: A Photographic Survey. New York: Dover. 28  (1) Friedman, Donald. 2010. Historical Building Construction: 24  (2) Friedman, Donald. 2010. Historical Building Construction:

Design, Materials & Technology. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &

Design, Materials & Technology. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &

Co. 178

Co. 18 29  (1) Friedman, Donald. 2010. Historical Building Construction: 25  Quote / “In the history of building structure, cast…”

Design, Materials & Technology. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &

Friedman, Donald. 2010. Historical Building Construction: Design,

Co. 178

Materials & Technology. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 36 32  Building information, including block, lot, etc. “Mercer Street, 26  (1) Wolfe, Gerard R. 1994. New York, a Guide to the Metropolis:

10013 in Manhattan.” n.d. PropertyPanel.Xyz. https://PropertyPanel.

Walking Tours of Architecture and History. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 173 26  (2) Friedman, Donald. 2010. Historical Building Construction: Design, Materials & Technology. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 177 26  (3) Friedman, Donald. 2010. Historical Building Construction: Design, Materials & Technology. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 37 27  (1) Wolfe, Gerard R. 1994. New York, a Guide to the Metropolis: Walking Tours of Architecture and History. 2nd ed. New Y: McGrawHill. 175

32 Property details website, includes public transportation, school info “Property Report for 29 Mercer St, 10013 | RealDirect.” n.d. Accessed December 7, 2018. MERCER-STREET.10013/. 35 (1) “29 Mercer Street - New York City, New York | Apartment Building.” n.d. 42 Census Data compares 2010 to 200 “NYC Population FactFinder.” n.d. profile/14142/census?mode=change.


43 Census Data with focus on health The New York City

81 Quote / “Contemporary studies on memory...” “Proof

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 2015. “Manhattan

of Memory Lies in Architecture | POST Magazine.” n.d. http://


45 Zoning in NYC “Zoning Districts & Tools : Manufacturing

81 Poem “Poets’ Corner - Abraham Lincoln - Selected Works.” n.d.

Districts -M1 - DCP.” n.d.

zoning/districts-tools/ 82-95 See my biophilic design report, “NatuRE:engaged: Biophilic 72  Quote / “For years, the area...” “The Last Artists of SoHo

Design for Health & Wellness” for all references and image credits

(and TriBeCa) - The New York Times.” n.d. https://www.nytimes.



144/145 Twiggy case study details “Architecten de Vylder Vinck


Taillieu, Filip Dujardin · Twiggy · Divisare.” n.d. projects/237926-architecten-de-vylder-vinck-taillieu-Twiggy.

74  Quote / “Until we can begin to understand...” Bloomer, Kent C., and Charles Willard Moore. 1977. Body, Memory, and

144/145 Twiggy case study summary “VAI - Vlaams Architectuur

Architecture. A Yale Paperbound. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Instituut.” . /en/project/twiggy-boutique-gent.

80 Quote / “The philosopher Edward S. Casey...” “The

146/147 Prada Epicenter case study details “Prada Epicenter

Architecture of Memory | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian.” n.d.

New York.” n.d. OMA. Accessed December 7, 2018.


memory-14396375/. 146/147 Prada Epicenter case study information “A Look Back 80 Quote / “The process used by Zumthor...” “Multiplicity and

at the Prada Store as Prada Looks Back.” 2018. SoHo Broadway

Memory: Talking About Architecture with Peter Zumthor.” 2010.

Initiative. February 28, 2018.

ArchDaily. November 2, 2010.



148/149 Tenement Museum case study information “Perkins Eastman | Lower East Side Tenement Museum.” n.d. http://

80 Quote / “Once, this materialization of memory...” “Space

and Memory ArchitectureAU.” n.d. Accessed June 17, 2019. https://



148/149 Tenement Museum case study details “Tenement Museum.” n.d. Architizer. 150/151 Community Center in Amori case study details “Kengo Kuma’s Community Center Has an Undulating Playroom.” Designboom | Architecture & Design Magazine. April 23, 2015. 150/151 Community Center in Amori case study information “Community Centre by Kengo Kuma Has an Undulating Floor.” 2015. Dezeen. April 30, 2015. community-centre-towada-kindergarten-kengo-kuma-playroomsundulating-floorboards-japan/. 152/152 I’m Lost in Paris case study detail “I’m Lost in Paris / R&Sie(N).” 2009. ArchDaily. January 23, 2009. http://www.archdaily. com/12212/im-lost-in-paris-rsien/.


IMAGE CREDITS Cover Image Photo of site’s facade by Ewa Podgórska   5 Family photo from private collection by Jurek Podgórski

images. SoHo Memory Project.

6 Image of Krakowskie Przedmiescie, a street in Warsaw, Poland in 1955 by Władysław Sławny. “Cztery Razy ŚWIAT - Fotoreporterzy Tygodnika Ilustrowanego Świat.” 2013. April 5, 2013. http://

12 Images of the Mobile Museum by SoHo Memory Project. Digital images. SoHo Memory Project.

6 Images of Krakowskie Przedmiescie, a street in Warsaw, Poland now. “Nowy Świat to Najdroższa Ulica w Polsce!” n.d. https://www. 7 Tannenbaum, Allan. Image of snowball fight after a blizzard in 1978 in SoHo. Digital image.

8 Logo of The SoHo Memory Project.

13 Graph based on an existing graphic from NYU’s Development Research Institute (DRI). Original digital image: dri/2015/07/29/nyu-development-research-institute-announcesthe-launch-of-the-greene-street-project/ 14 Graph based on an existing from NYU’s Development Research Institute (DRI). Original digital image: dri/2015/07/29/nyu-development-research-institute-announcesthe-launch-of-the-greene-street-project/

the-photographs-of-allan-tannenbaum 16 Broadway Entertainment District in 1836. The Miriam and Ira D. 7 SoHo Shopping Street. “Things To Do in Soho NYC | The

Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection,

Ultimate 2019 Guide •.” 2018. Loving New York(blog). October 5,

The New York Public Library. “Broadway, New-York. Showing each


building from the Hygeian Depot corner of Canal Street to beyond Niblo’s Garden” New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://

7 Durham, Cameron. Bag Lady. Photograph. https://sohomemory.



8 Image of the Mobile Museum by SoHo Memory Project. Digital

19 Image of Lispenard’s Meadow. Digital images. http://www.


Katz: Digital image. “If You Like Alex Katz, You’ll Love These Artists.” n.d. Artspace. art_101/if-you-like-alex-katz-youll-love-these-artists.

19 Robertson, Archibald. Collect Pond, New York City. The MET, New York. 1798. Watercolor. works-of-art/54.90.168/

Kelly: Digital image. “Interview with Choreographer Rebecca Kelly | SoHo Memory Project.”

21 SoHo Cast-Iron Historic District. Digital Images. https:// html?id=93a88691cace4067828b1eede432022b

Rainer: Digital image. “Yvonne Rainer - Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series.” n.d. stamps/detail/yvonne_rainer

22 SoHo artists, in alphabetical order. Digital Images:  Rashied: Digital image. “Rashied Ali - Drummerworld Gallery.”  Benglis: Digital image. “Lynda Benglis in Conversation | Ocula.”  Warhol: Digital image. “Style Heroes: Andy Warhol.” n.d. The Rake.  Close: Digital image. “Chuck Close Apologizes After Accusations

of Sexual Harassment - The New York Times.” n.d. https://

25 Cast-iron elements. Digital Image. Illustrations of Iron


Architecture, Made by the Architectural Iron Works of the City of New York. New York : Baker & Godwin, printers

Eversley: Digital image. Fred Eversley | About | Energy.” http://

details/illustrationsofi00badg.  Judd: Digital Image.


26 Haghe, Louis. 1851. English: The State Opening of The Great

66 Housing Works Thrift Shop / Bookstore Interior. “Booze &

Exhibition, England. Queen Victoria Opens the Great Exhibition

Books at Housing Works x Pasquale Jones.” 2018. Idk Tonight

in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London. 1851. Color lithograph.

(blog). February 12, 2018.

Victoria and Albert Museum.


File:Crystal_Palace_-_Queen_Victoria_opens_the_Great_Exhibition. jpg.

68 Site photos by Ewa Podgórska.

27 The E.V. Haughwout Building Image. Digital image. “Happy

74 Bullet glass & vault lighting on Soho’s sidewalk. Photo by Ewa

160th Birthday to the World’s First Passenger Elevator.” n.d.


TreeHugger. happy-160th-birthday-worlds-first-passenger-elevator.html.

82 Photo of forest in California by Ewa Podgórska.

29 The E.V. Haughwout Building façade. Digital Image. https://goo.

84 Biophilic Design in New York City collage by Thrive Global.


“How Biophilic Design Can Improve The Spaces and Cities We Work and Live In.” n.d.

29 Photo of site’s facade by Ewa Podgórska.


32 Photo of site from Google Maps.

87-95 Photos by Ewa Podgórska.

34 Collage using historical maps of Manhattan from the New York

104-107 Photos by Ewa Podgórska.

Public Library Digital archives. 58 Maher, James. Silk Exchange Building, SoHo, Photograph. 39 Photograph of Fred Eversley. Digital image. https:// 108-141 Photos/images by Ewa Podgórska. 40-41 Photos of SoHo by Ewa Podgórska. 144/145 Twiggy case study. Digital Images. “Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu, Filip Dujardin · Twiggy · Divisare.” n.d. https:// 45 New York City zoning maps. Digital images.



45-59 Photos of Site Ewa Podgórska.


146/147 Prada Epicenter case study. Digital images. “Prada Epicenter New York.” n.d. OMA. Accessed December 7, 2018. http:// 148/148 Tenement Museum case study. Digital images. “Perkins Eastman | Lower East Side Tenement Museum.” n.d. http:// tenement_museum. 150 Community Center in Amori case study. Digital images. “Kengo Kuma’s Community Center Has an Undulating Playroom.” Designboom | Architecture & Design Magazine. April 23, 2015. 151 I’m Lost in Paris case study. Digital images. “I’m Lost in Paris / R&Sie(N).” 2009. ArchDaily. January 23, 2009. http://www.archdaily. com/12212/im-lost-in-paris-rsien/. 152 Photo by Ewa Podgórska. Back cover image Cooley, Ronald. Soho Denizens. Photograph. https://www. photographs/13649



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