In the sea of copycat cast-iron facades of Greene St., the dazzlingly white Gunther Building is visual blocks away. Designed by architect Griffith Thomas in the early 1870s, the six-story building has the name of a prominent 19th-century furrier emblazoned in an arch over the corner entrance bay. Be sure to check out the rolled glass windows above it, which curve 90 degrees at the intersection of Greene and Broome Sts. and actually get smaller as the floors get higher, a trademark of French Empire cast-iron buildings. Like all great works of art, the Gunther inspired its share of followers. The Cheney Building, erected on the same Broome St. block a year later, features nearly identical columns and capitals, flattened window arches and decorative urns. Both structures were originally commercial textile factories, but as SoHo evolved, so did they. Today’s tenants are mostly artists and architects, including Beyhan Karahan and Associates, the architectural firm that led a five-year project to restore the Gunther facade from 1996 to 2001.Greene Street
This area has the highest concentration of cast-iron facades in the world. Walk north to the “King of Greene Street” at 72 Greene to view a façade with even more ornate sculptural details.