LPC to Hear Anthology Film Archives’ Completion Project and Rooftop Addition

Posted on: August 8th, 2017 at 5:08 am by

The Anthology Film Archives is making moves to finally “complete” the restoration and renovation endeavor on which it embarked decades ago. The so-called “Completion Project” is moving its way through the city bureaucracy.

(There had been rumors of a five-story addition that never materialized.)

Back in January, the Anthology, which owns the landmarked building at the corner of Second Avenue and Second Street, announced its proposal for the Completion Project. Intended goal is to fully realize (aka complete) the vision first dreamed up when the institution purchased the property. That means, a fourteen-foot vertical expansion that allows for both a library and cafe on-premise. The library will be located in the addition atop the existing structure, while the Heaven and Earth Cafe will be housed on the lobby level in a space adjacent.

Bone/Levine Architects has submitted plans for a larger revision and expansion to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which will hear the proposal later this morning. According to YIMBY, this revised submission to the LPC “represents a major change from the previous iteration of the plans, which was substantially glassier. The extension of the facade will consist of a coated copper base, and accents clad in corten steel will line the windows of the library, which have been downscaled substantially.”

The stout structure at 32-34 Second Avenue was originally conceived in 1913 as a fourteen-story “skyscraper” to kill three birds with one stone – replacing the Municipal Court building on Madison Street, the Ludlow Street jail, and the Essex Market Courthouse and district prison. Those plans were significantly scaled back in Hopkin’s 1917 redesign, which resulted in the existing 3-story structure. Its design was inspired by European prisons in the style of Renaissance Revival. After 1948, the building became known as the Lower Manhattan Magistrate’s Courthouse; Anthology Film Archives purchased the property in 1979.

Here’s more about the Completion Project, which also includes a gallery and bookshop, via the Bone/Levine website:

Originally the Third District Magistrates Courthouse, this sturdy and imposing building was purchased by Anthology Film Archives in 1979 and adapted to reuse, opening its doors in 1989. The establishment of Anthology on Second Avenue was concurrent with the expansion of the East Village as a mecca for the avant-garde arts.

As a screening venue and repository of avant-garde, independent and classic cinema, Anthology Film Archives remains a key component of the artistic vitality of the East Village and for the greater film community. Indeed, nowhere else can scholars and connoisseurs of cinema find such a comprehensive collection of works.

But the restoration and renovation of the Anthology Film Archives is not completed. As designed by the late world-renowned architect Raimund Abraham, Anthology was planned to house two movie theaters, a film vault, a paper materials library, and a cafe. Anthology restored the building and built the film vault and two movie theaters. But the completion of the library, an essential part of Anthology Film Archives’ collection and its mission, and the cafe, an important component of its financial sustainability, were left for the future.

The completion of these essential components of Anthology Film Archives, designed by Bone/Levine Architects, the architects of record on the original renovation, is critical for the mission of the Anthology and its long-term stability.

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