Monday, November 26, 2007

From Historic Review Board

The Historic Preservation Review Board took up the issue of the walkway between the new Courtyard by Marriott at Harrison Square and the Indiana Hotel shortly after the Redevelopment Commission unanimously passed a Resolution in favor of the walkway.

The Review Board took into consideration a number of Certificates of Appropriateness that would bestow the Board's blessing onto the specific design characteristics of the proposed walkway.

A representative from MSKTD, the walkway's architect, was in attendance and explained the reasoning behind the design of the walkway. The involvement of two Review Board staff from the beginning of negotiations was specifically noted, in addition to the parties directly involved.

It was said that the design of the walkway was intentionally simple, with the overall goal being the preservation of the historic Indiana Hotel. The location of the walkway is such that it avoids disrupting the terra cotta and artistic elements present on the corner of the Indiana Hotel and its location at the third floor likewise avoids disrupting the unique features of the building's street level design.

The glass used for the walkway was said to be as opaque as possible, while still having some tint to it. It should be noted that the metallic outer shell, as seen in the pictures, is actually of a darker tint than shown and more closely matches in with the color of the terra cotta.

Also of note is how the walkway is supported on the Indiana Hotel side. Two beams support the walkway and it does not actually connect into the Indiana Hotel itself, because of the risk of damage to the building caused by wind and other factors that affect all walkways. The walkway does touch the Indiana Hotel but uses expansion joints to create the connection.

A question was asked as to whether or not the walkway would endanger the building's historic status. The answer given was no, since the walkway would utilize an existing window and wouldn't be permanently connected to the building. Because of the nature of the walkway's design it is conceivable (though unlikely) that the building could be restored to its present state sometime in the future without any monumental effort.

A motion to pass the 5 staff recommendations related to the walkway was met with a unanimous vote.