New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture celebrated its 30th anniversary with a benefit and silent auction on Friday night. Vito Acconci, who designed Storefront's exhibition space and its jigsaw puzzle façade, was a no show, but director Eva Franch i Gilabert presided over the event in one of her appropriately architectural dresses. An event honoree (along with Yona Friedman and Mary Miss), Steven Holl exchanged some quick banter with Franch before he spoke to the crowd, remembering the Storefront's opening night in 1983. And the ever-charismatic board president Charles Renfro took a break from his duties soliciting donations to announce the "Critical History Project," a conference, exhibition, and film focusing on the Storefront's work over the last three decades to be presented sometime later this year.
But the star of the party was the venue. The event took place on the 9th Floor of 5 Beekman Street—also known as Temple Court—a long-abandoned 1882 building just off of City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan. Inside its brick and terra cotta façade, former offices ring a full-height atrium capped by an iron-and-glass skylight, both of which had been largely forgotten since the beginning of the 20th century until the blog Scouting New York brought them back to public light a few years ago. The vertiginous, grand, and beautifully decayed space includes cast-iron balustrades and other ornamental details, such as dragon-shaped metal brackets. A developer is currently renovating the building into 297-room hotel and 90 apartments, but Curbed recently posted some photos showing the dilapidated beauty in its current amazing state.