World's First Glass-Brick Building Proposed for Tribeca

Tribeca has no shortage of zany architecture ideas ideas floating around -- see the metal warehouse and the "stone cloud" penthouse -- but the latest proposal from architect Joseph Pell Lombardi takes the cake: a traditional Tribeca building—six floors of brick arches, tall windows, etc. -- made entirely out of glass.

Even the bricks and doorknobs! The Downtown Express reports that the building was commissioned by an English developer and would take the place of a pair of buildings at 401-403 Greenwich Street. The Glass Atelier was presented to Community Board 1's Landmarks Committee, but it'll be up to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to decide if it gets built (the location is within the Tribeca West Historic District).

Lombardi, who spent six months working with engineers figuring out how to keep the thing from shattering (hint: people living inside shouldn't throw stones), told the committee: "As far as we can do in our research, it is unique unto the world."


The project will contain two retail stores and eight rental apartment above, though current zoning means that the units may have to be office space at first. Lombardi said he hopes to begin construction this summer and finish up in a year, adding, "There's no question the financing is there." Currently, the site houses a two-story building with a loading dock and a six-story loft building built in the '60s (top left). The smaller building would be demolished, and the loft building would be stripped to its steel beams and mechanicals, and then glassed (check out the bricks, top right). And what if the building's tenants don't want to be seen from the street? Said Lombardi, "If I want privacy…I would pull the drapes." Added a committee member, "I find it rather 2007 for the current era." The building will be presented to the LPC on March 3rd.

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