The Blue Note

The Blue Note

131 West 3rd Street, New York, NY 10012

Our Roles

  • Architecture
  • Project Management

The Bluenote Jazz Club, founded in 1981, is located on the corner of West 3rd Street and 6th Avenue in the heart of Greenwich Village. In 2004 the owner asked us, as part of the preparation for the club’s 25th anniversary, to upgrade the existing building and enlarge it with three additional floors. His condition was that the club’s packed schedule, which includes two shows every night of the year, would not be affected.

In order to accommodate the additional load without reinforcing the foundations, we devised a structural assembly of light steel framing and Versaroc – a highly fire-resistant cement board – for both the walls and the floors.

Due to space restriction on the street level and the size of the club, a new elevator was installed from the second floor up. The elevator, which required an especially deep raised pit, was supported by four massive steel columns that went through the back of house and the coat check spaces.

A new cantilevered piano shaped awning was installed above the entry, mimicking the previous iconic awning made of canvas in the same shape. Both the new facade and the awning were finished with a black stainless steel cladding.

Black stainless steel is the same composition of iron, chromium, silicon, nickel and carbon that makes up traditional stainless steel products, but it has a protective polymer coating that creates a black matte. The black coating makes the material reflective and results in changes of color and tone, reflecting the changing light and environment around it.

Conceived as a musical score, black stainless steel is used as a metaphor for the essence of Jazz. The reflection of light on the building changes the color of the façade; it pushes it to respond and communicate with the colors of the city, similar to the relationship between the jazz musician and their audience. Once the connection between them is mastered and established through the art of improvisation and moving through scales, the music inside the club becomes the maker of the colors of life.