Exploring Soho District in NYC: Cast-Iron Architecture Style

SoHo NYC Historic District in a Glance

If you didn't hear about SoHo District in NYC yet, then it is time to do so; Because what you will discover in the next lines will fascinate you with the history of this part of the city and further, more surprised about what you will find out.

Soho, short for South of Houston Street, is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York City. The area is known mainly for its cast-iron architecture style, cobblestone streets, and trendy fashion boutiques. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike thanks to its historic buildings and vibrant culture. Soho has a rich history, and its unique architectural style is one of the reasons why it attracts so many visitors.

Soho is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in New York City. But what makes Soho NYC so special? Let’s take a look at some of the architectural styles that reside in this area and other interesting facts about this beloved NYC neighborhood.


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Every corner of the street has its own interesting architectural style of historical buildings, Photo by Vlada Karpovich


A Different Side of NYC: The SoHo Cast Iron District

When you think of New York City, chances are that the first thing that comes to mind is the skyline. And, if you’ve ever been to NYC, then you know that the skyline is filled with towering skyscrapers made of glass and steel. But, what you may not know is that there is a whole other side to NYC – a side that is filled with traditional architecture and narrow streets lined with cast-iron buildings.

This side of NYC is known as Soho and it’s one of the most charming and beautiful neighborhoods in the city. If you’re looking for a taste of traditional architecture, then Soho is the place to go. In this article, we’ll take a look at the cast-iron architectural style that dominates Soho and learn about its history and origins.


How to reach SoHo District?

First, let us locate the Soho neighborhood in Manhattan-NYC; the northern boundary is Houston Street and the southern boundary is Canal Street, but the location of the eastern and western boundaries is still disputed. Among the numerous nearby neighborhoods are "Little Italy", "TriBeCa", and "West Village".


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The surroundings of the SoHo area in NYC, Photo from Google map

As you already know, the northern boundary is Houston Street and the southern boundary is Canal Street, but the location of the eastern and western boundaries is still under discussion because of the interference and overlap of some identical styles in the area. Additionally, and just for your own directions, as you can notice, Central Park is located on the north side of Manhattan, while SoHo occupies the Lower part, as shown in the general site map below.

 
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General location map, Photo from Google Maps

The Emergence of the Cast-Iron Architecture Style

One of the defining features of Soho is its cast-iron architecture. In the late 19th century, cast iron was a popular building material because it was cheap and easy to use. This led to the construction of many cast-iron buildings in Soho. These buildings have complex designs and were used for manufacturing and warehousing purposes.

Briefly, this zone was industrial per excellence.

The cast-iron architectural style of Soho is characterized by large windows, ornate columns, and intricate cornices. The buildings are typically six stories high, and many of them have been converted into apartments and lofts. The use of cast iron also allowed for large open spaces, which were ideal for manufacturing and warehousing.

The architecture in Soho is truly unique - it has an eclectic mix of old-world charm with modern touches throughout. The area boasts beautiful cast iron facades from 19th-century industrial warehouses that have been repurposed into chic lofts or trendy boutiques;


But what is the Cast Iron Architectural Style?

The cast iron architecture style refers to a style of architecture that was popular during the 19th century, particularly in the United States. This style is characterized by the use of cast iron as a structural material, which allowed architects to create buildings with large, open interior spaces and intricate facades.

Cast-iron architecture is characterized by its use of cast-iron elements, which are typically found in the facades of buildings. The use of cast iron was a popular choice for architects during the 19th century because it was strong and relatively cheap to produce. Today, the cast-iron architecture of Soho is one of the most distinctive features of the neighborhood.

If you’re interested in learning more about this type of architecture, then keep reading!


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Building example of cast iron architectural style in the Soho NYC district, Photo by Brandon Nickerson

The cast iron architecture was made possible by advances in iron manufacturing technology, which allowed for the mass production of cast iron components. These components could be molded into a variety of shapes and sizes, making them ideal for creating ornate facades and other decorative elements.

The architecture style in SoHo-NYC is typically described as cast iron architecture, a type of industrial architecture that emerged in the mid-19th century. This style is characterized by the use of cast iron in building facades, which allowed for large, open storefronts and expansive windows.

The buildings in SoHo are typically six to eight stories tall, with ornate cast iron detailing on the facades, including columns, pilasters, and cornices. The buildings often have a uniform height and setback, creating a cohesive streetscape.

In addition to the cast iron architecture, and as mentioned before, SoHo also has a variety of other architectural styles, including Italianate, Neo-Grec, and Second Empire. These styles can be seen in some of the larger buildings on the major thoroughfares, such as Broadway and Lafayette Street.

➤ Read more about the other Soho's architectural styles in the next section.


Overall, the architecture in SoHo is characterized by a mix of historic and modern styles, with many buildings having been renovated and repurposed over the years. The neighborhood has a distinctive character that is defined by its architecture, and it has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

Some of the most notable examples of cast iron architecture can be found in cities like New York and Chicago, where buildings with cast iron facades and ornate details were common in the mid to late-19th century. While this architectural style fell out of favor in the early 20th century, many of these historic buildings have been preserved and continue to be admired for their unique style and craftsmanship.


Architect walks Soho (Video)

For more interesting information about the cast iron architectural style, join Architect Nicholas Potts on his walking tour in SoHo Streets and discover the beauty of this construction style and its best characteristics. Watch the video below and enjoy!


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Some of the Architectural Styles found in the SoHo District

Some of the finest cast-iron buildings in the world can be found in SoHo. These buildings were primarily built between 1870 and 1890 for use as factories and warehouses. They feature cast-iron decorative elements (such as columns, cornices, and balustrades). Rather like an industrial IKEA, the prefabricated pieces were created in molds at foundries and ordered by catalog.

The SoHo neighborhood in New York City features a variety of architectural styles that reflect its history and evolution over time. Some of the prominent architectural styles in the area include:

  • CAST-IRON ARCHITECTURE: As was said, SoHo is known for its unique cast-iron architecture, which emerged in the mid-19th century. These buildings feature intricate iron facades that were constructed using molds, making them more cost-effective and faster to build than traditional masonry buildings.

  • BEAUX-ARTS: Some of the buildings in SoHo, particularly those closer to Broadway, feature Beaux-Arts architectural details, such as elaborate ornamentation, symmetrical facades, and large arched windows.

  • ITALIANATE: The Italianate style, which was popular in the mid-19th century, can be seen in some of the buildings in SoHo. This style is characterized by its decorative brackets, tall narrow windows, and ornate cornices.
  • ART DECO: Several buildings in SoHo, particularly those built in the 1920s and 1930s, feature Art Deco design elements such as geometric shapes, stylized motifs, and bold colors.
  • NEO-GREC: SoHo also features a number of Neo-Grec buildings, which were popular in the late 19th century. This style is characterized by its symmetrical facades, classical details, and ornamental ironwork.

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Another famous cast iron-style building in Soho NYC: the E. V. Haughwout, Photo from Pinterest

Italianate brownstones built during the mid-1800s; Greek Revival homes dating back to 1810; Federal style townhouses constructed around 1840; and even Art Deco masterpieces from the 1920s! Each building tells its own story, making walking through this part of Manhattan feel like you've stepped into another era entirely.

Overall, the architecture of SoHo reflects the neighborhood's history as a commercial and industrial hub, as well as its more recent transformation into a trendy residential and shopping destination.


Interesting Facts About Soho District

  • The cobblestone streets of Soho are another defining feature of the neighborhood. These streets were originally paved with Belgian blocks, which were durable and could withstand heavy traffic. Many of the streets have been preserved, and walking along them is a unique experience.
  • Soho is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the world. The average cost per square foot in Soho is over $2,000, making it one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City.
  • Soho was once a manufacturing hub. The area was home to many textile factories and warehouses in the 19th century. Today, many of these buildings have been converted into apartments, lofts, and retail spaces.
  • Soho is a popular destination for shopping. The neighborhood is home to many high-end fashion boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Some of the most famous brands with stores in Soho include Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Prada.
  • Soho has a vibrant arts scene. The neighborhood is home to many art galleries and studios, and it is a popular destination for artists and art lovers alike.
  • Soho is a popular filming location. The neighborhood has been featured in many movies and TV shows, including "Sex and the City," "Gossip Girl," and "Friends."

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      • Another fascinating thing about Soho is all the hidden gems tucked away on side streets or alleys - many people don't realize there are secret gardens behind some buildings as well as small art galleries showcasing local talent! There's also plenty to explore underground: beneath Prince St., you can find remnants from when horse stables used to occupy these blocks more than 100 years ago!  


      Aside from admiring all sorts of historical structures here, visitors can enjoy a variety of shopping experiences ranging everything vintage clothing stores to high-end designer labels along Broadway & Prince St. And if you're looking for something delicious after browsing around shops – no worries – since there are tons of restaurants serving up cuisines spanning every corner world right here too!.


      All things considered, it’s no wonder why so many people come to visit SoHo each year. From stunning architecture to amazing dining options, and endless retail opportunities — this hip section city definitely won't disappoint!

      In conclusion, Soho is a unique neighborhood in New York City known for its cast-iron architecture, cobblestone streets, and trendy fashion boutiques. The area has a rich history and is home to many interesting facts and attractions. Soho is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting New York City.


      References in this article:

      - pexels.com for the photos documentary
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