Courtesy Aluminaire House Foundation
Owners of the aluminum-and-steel Aluminaire House (left and below) seek to move it to a historic district in Sunnyside Gardens, a move that many residents have opposed. Rendering courtesy Campani an, Photo courtesy Aluminaire House Foundation
It’s truly a test of their metal.
The owners of a futuristic aluminum-and-steel home are struggling to drum up support to bring the noted building to a brick historic distict.
The owners of the Aluminaire House will lay out their plan Thursday to the city’s Historic Districts Council, hoping to move the home to a former playground in Sunnyside Gardens.
Residents of the scenic, middle-class community are bitterly opposed to the bid to relocate this shining example of modern architecture into their landmarked district.
The owners of the site, at 39th Ave. and 50th St., are also seeking to put up eight condo units next door.
“I just don’t think it’s right for the neighborhood,” said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside). “You can’t plop a big, shiny house in the middle of a landmarked neighborhood against the community’s wishes.”
The owners will go before the local community board on Sept. 19 before heading to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Sept. 24. The commission must sign off on new developments in landmarked districts.
But it seems unlikely that the community board will roll out the welcome wagon for the Aluminaire House. Many residents have gotten behind a plan to turn the vacant space into a park.
“It’s out of place and out of character with the neighborhood,” said board chairman Joseph Conley. “It’s the wrong place.”
The owners said they’ll go ahead with the relocation — provided it receives Landmarks approval — with or without the support of the community.
“It’ll bring an important example of American architecture to Sunnyside Gardens,” said Michael Schwarting, who heads up the Aluminaire House Foundation with his wife, architect Frances Campani.
The house was conceived as a study in affordable housing and built for a 1931 architectural exhibit.
“Just a few years before that, Sunnyside Gardens was built for the same reasons,” he said.
The house is currently sitting in storage on Long Island, he said. If the project receives the green light, it would be opened to the public several times a year, Schwarting said.
Historic Districts Council, 232 E. 11th St. in Manhattan, Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., hdc.org