655 Park Avenue
Upper East Side Historic District
A Georgian style apartment building, designed by J.E.R. Carpenter and Mott B. Schmidt and constructed in 1923. Application is to make alterations to roof, involving removal of non-original bulkheads and adding rooftop penthouse additions.
CB8 Hearing: 04/16/18 (Approved)
LPC Hearing: 04/24/18 (Approved)
FRIENDS’ Preservation Committee feels that the architect has done an impressive job of designing this penthouse addition to blend seamlessly into 655 Park Avenue’s features and to more or less recede from the public view. We commend the architects’ attention to detail and sensitivity in choosing the materials and color scheme, and their dedication to thoughtfully arranging the floor plan to minimize the visibility of the new penthouse.
We would be remiss not to take this opportunity to question the broader impact of readily approving additions that expand building envelopes within historic districts, and we note the fact that this addition to 655 Park Avenue would be the first non-utilitarian permanent rooftop structure on the building in its history. The cumulative impact of such encroachments, even when carefully designed, effectively changes the bulk of a building and a district in a piecemeal fashion. Apart from the impact of an addition on just one building, we question the long term impact of the desire to squeeze out every possible extra square inch of habitable space on the stewardship of our historic building stock.