A TRANSFORMATIVE FACADE THAT BRIDGES PAST & PRESENT
529 Broadway is a new 6-story commercial building at the corner of Spring Street and Broadway, in NYC’s SoHo Cast Iron Historic District. The innovative façade design emerged from studying the historic Prescott House – a large hotel that occupied the site from 1852 to 1935; a portion of which remains as 99 Spring Street – and comparing it to its neighbor, 101 Spring Street, which together illustrate the evolution of cast iron’s role from decorative to structural in the mid-19th century due to advancements in building technology.
Composed of an open-joint terra cotta rain screen that conceals a glass curtain wall, the façade of 529 Broadway transforms across the site. At the western end of its Spring Street exposure, terra cotta panels create the appearance of a punched opening masonry building – recalling the historic Prescott House. Moving east, this appearance evolves, and the facade reveals more of its true curtain wall construction until the glazing ratio at the eastern (Broadway) end of the facade reflects that of cast iron buildings like 101 Spring Street. The glass and aluminum curtain wall behind the terra cotta screen serves as the building’s enclosure, allowing the screen to effortlessly transform across the facade. As the rain screen’s apertures grow, the imprint of the historic masonry openings remains visible as a printed lace pattern, applied to an interlayer within the insulated curtain wall glass. Additionally, protruding aluminum frames emerge to echo certain original window openings of the Prescott House.
The terra cotta elements on the Spring Street elevation twist and dematerialize, becoming ornamental accents for a modern glass curtain wall with cast iron loft proportions on Broadway. By embracing this historic building material in conjunction with contemporary modeling and fabrication processes, the designers crafted a bold and modern design that also celebrates its historic context.