Rendering that is circulating among existing residents of the landmark Clocktower loft apartments of the expansion currently under construction.
Rendering that is circulating among existing residents of the landmark Clocktower loft apartments of the expansion currently under construction.

Rising adjacent to the historic Clocktower Loft building is a new 6 story, 128,340 square foot residential expansion adding 190 units to the 95 unit loft building—oh and did we mention the enclosed pool?

The rendering is from architectural firm Karl Fischer Architect who is the architectural firm listed on NYC’s Department of Building’s database. One has to scratch their heads as to why a firm that is so despised in NYC was chosen for the project.

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According to an opinion piece—titled ‘New York’s Most Loathed Architect‘— in the New York Post 5 years ago, Maureen Callahan wrote:

“Every time one of his buildings goes up, it seems another New Yorker’s heart sinks.

Since 2003, Montreal-based architect Karl Fischer has designed more than 200 residential structures in Manhattan and Brooklyn, each one looking very much like the last: glass-curtained boxes flecked with grim brick or concrete, characterless high-rises in bohemian areas that, like uninvited party guests, seem to neither know nor care that they are profoundly out of place.

“Like doctors, there is a certain ethic of the architect: You’re not supposed to make anything worse,” says Aleksandr Mergold, architect and professor at Cornell University. “I’m not saying Karl Fischer is making things worse. But he’s not making things any better. That Cold War look seems to come from a lack of imagination. Great business model, though.”

“The contempt for the historical and architectural character and context of the neighborhood is appalling,” Bowery Alliance of Neighbors member David Mulkins told the Local East Village at the time.

Still, Fischer’s designs — lacking as they may be — are constrained by a host of other factors, from zoning laws to the developers’ budgets to marketing directives. “I’m proud of almost all the buildings I do,” Fischer says.

At real-estate blog Curbed.com, Fischer, who works mainly in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and lower Manhattan, has become something of a bête noire. “We average eight posts a month on him,” says editor Sara Polsky. “With our readers, he’s among the worst offenders.”

And clearly when one looks at the rendering, there is that evident contempt for historical and architectural character of the neighborhood. With the dull, gray bricks, the building is the antithesis of what the landmark Clocktower represents in its vibrant red brick facade, not to mention the general architecture in the area.

The iconic Clocktower building on the left—its vibrant facade and exterior is quite the opposite of the expansion being constructed.
The iconic Clocktower building on the left—its vibrant facade and exterior is quite the opposite of the expansion being constructed.

Gentrification is clearly moving at a rapid pace in the South Bronx and this doesn’t include several other properties under development in the immediate area as developers descend upon The Bronx like vultures.

No further details or whether the rendering is final but it does look quite beautiful. Sadly, this is not being constructed for the majority of folks who live in the district or the South Bronx and will only help further push the ever escalating rents of Port Morris and Mott Haven.

Thoughts?

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