I appreciate Mary Beth Klatt’s effort to raise awareness of Sylvia Shaw Judson’s relief panel on the west facade of the Com Ed substation on Block 37 [August 11]. Perhaps Ms. Klatt could have taken a step further by suggesting that the remaining facade and its original art-glass windows (which would replace the retrofitted black granite infill below the relief) be restored and/or replicated. Given the city planning department’s proposed new floor-area ratio bonus system, the developers of the site could conceivably be awarded more buildable area for every dollar spent on this restoration–at a 20 percent discount (cost of one square foot of bonus area equals 80 percent times median cost of land per buildable square foot). Talk about a “win-win” situation!
If the new Block 37 design is to be a success, it seems the creative power of the architect must stretch beyond the scope of typical “archicentric” concerns.
Stephen J. Cavanaugh, AIA