Posts tagged with "Brooklyn":

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With 595 Baltic, Brooklyn’s co-living market continues to grow

When touring a new set of apartments, one seldom expects to hear the units are "not for everybody" from the founder and CEO of the firm selling them. Brad Hargreaves of Common, however, isn't fearful his words will affect his business. New York–based Common, which manages nine co-living apartment buildings, prides itself on making living with strangers easier while offering a slew of amenities, including fully-furnished rooms, regular cleaning, WiFi, and more. This tour of 595 Baltic—the company's sixth location in Brooklyn—showcased their latest endeavor into the emerging co-living market. To get a place at Common, prospective tenants are interviewed and checks are made on their finances and background to ensure everything is in order. (This isn't Craigslist.) And while Hargreaves increasingly sounded like he was whittling down his audience in search of the right type of tenant, people are applying in their droves. Prior to opening Common Baltic, the company received more than 12,000 applications for an existing 120 rooms in New York and San Francisco. Walking into 595 Baltic Street—which can house 135 tenants—you're greeted by a lobby with elevators and two social areas coming off it. Herein lies the premise of Common: It aims to be a community, where faces are familiar and residents engage in activities together, even outside their apartment. "There are plenty of buildings where you can have your own private space and be anonymous in the elevator, but this is not that place," said Hargreaves. When setting up Common, Hargreaves said he and the firm took inspiration from the co-living culture in Europe, in particular, Bjarke Ingels' 8 House in Copenhagen. "In Europe, co-living is much more accepted. There are buildings built specifically for co-living residents, but not so much here," he said, later adding that Ingels' other housing projects in Denmark's capital acted as precedents for "fostering community." Common is attempting to establish this way of life in the U.S. Once a week, cleaners replenish kitchen basics (salt, pepper, kitchen roll) and tidy up the shared living spaces. All apartments are fully furnished, complete with washers, dryers and SONOS speakers. A gym, bike storage, and 40 parking spaces are available too. "We wanted to create a residential management company that specifically addressed the challenges of moving to a city and living with strangers," Hargreaves continued. "The biggest part of this, is the idea of community. We like that people here don't just open their doors to a hallway, they open to a living room where there are other people." "Communities" are bound by floors which typically hold 15 to 25 residents. On each level there is a "house leader." This person, who volunteers their services in the application process, keeps most things in order and plans events and activities for residents to take part in. Common even provides $50 a month per person for this. Floor managers also enjoy subsidized rent. The experience sounds akin to living in university dormitories. At 595 Baltic, "traditional," more private dwellings are available to rent too, the split is 50/50 between co-living and traditional apartments. Sophie Wilkinson, head of design and construction at Common, said the bedrooms across the nine Common locations all the same. Social areas, though, are slightly different and offer some variation. Wilkinson also explained that floors weren't designed for a "specific type" of person in order to avoid cliques. Fostering and focusing on a particular community can have its consequences. In his own article, Hargreaves studied two polarizing communities: The Villages in Florida, where the community is 98.4% white with a median age of 71; and Kiryas Joel, New York—the poorest zip code in the U.S.—where the median age is 13. "There’s a lot of talk right now about building new cities. But there’s surprisingly little attention or respect paid to the people who are actually doing it," he said. On the flip-side, Hargreaves argued: "People are complicated, building for humans is messy business, and the designs that work are often not the designs we want to work." "Our community spaces are intimate and comfortable, and become an extension of your suite, as another space for you to retreat to (by yourself or with friends)," Wilkinson added. "When designing the interiors of the suites, we considered comfort, layout, and convenience. Our members move in with a bag and a toothbrush and can be cooking that evening and crashing on the sofa that night. Our design style is focussed on quality with an eye to creating a relaxing home, but once moved in, members add their own furnishings, art, color, and style." If you do not like your community, those at Common are free to move to other locations and floors when the opportunity arises. Hargreaves, however, said that the main issue was having to turn people away. Developers it seems, are happy too. In June of 2016, Common raised $16 million with significant investment from the real estate community; led by 8VC, participants included Circle Ventures, the technology arm of the Milstein Family, LeFrak, Solon Mack Capital, Ron Burkle’s Inevitable Ventures and Wolfswood Partners. Common residents at 595 Baltic will begin moving in at the start of February. Common isn't, however, the only company vying for a share of the co-living "pie." Micro-apartment with similar amenities and living arrangements are also on the rise.
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Images revealed of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5

Images for the Pier 5 uplands project at Brooklyn Bridge Park have been unveiled by landscape design studio Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA). Construction started last year, but now renderings depict what Pier 5 will look like. Images depict a slender, eel-like grassy mound meandering lengthways through the 4.5-acre park. The project stretches out across Furman Street and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, acting as a sound barrier to ward off traffic noise. This will hopefully make the esplanade on the other side more peaceful. 17,000 square feet of green space will be added too, courtesy of a reworking of the Joralemon Street entrance. This new configuration will also link MVVA's work to the existing park and its seated waterfront area.  As of now, Pier 5's perimeter includes a 30-foot wide promenade that offers "magnificent views of lower Manhattan, Governors Island, and the New York Harbor." Promenade features also boast three viewfinders, one of which is ADA accessible. On the Furman Street side, further work will include a new entrance to Montague Street along with general pedestrian improvements. A boathouse, a horticulture lab, and more restrooms will be added too, with the former being used for park programs open to the public. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates has also done work for Piers 1, 2, and 6. Though the uplands at Pier 5 currently holds an array of soccer, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, flag football, and ultimate frisbee fields, Interim President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) David Lowin said he aims for the area to be a "more restful counterpoint." The BBPC recently announced that the Pier 5 sports fields will be closed until Spring 2017. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
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Terra-cotta in context: a contextual bridge between past and present

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After nearly ten years, Downtown Brooklyn's City Point—a three-phase, 1.8 million-square-foot mixed-use development—was recently completed. It features a unique assemblage of housing towers—one dedicated to market-rate housing, with another predominantly containing affordable housing—atop a shared retail podium. Designed by New York–based architecture firm COOKFOX, the development is directly adjacent to the planned Willoughby Square Park, Albee Square, and the historic 1908 Dime Savings Bank. The architects said the project is about “tying together Downtown Brooklyn’s grand past with its thriving future.” This is represented through a dynamic faceted massing strategy that responds to a triangular corner lot on Fulton Street, and a white and pale gray terra-cotta rainscreen that subtly reflects the marbled exterior of the century-old bank next door. COOKFOX spokesman Jared Gilbert said when the project began in 2007 only 200 units of housing existed in the neighborhood, which now boasts tens of thousands of units. "We needed to design something that met this new reality of Downtown Brookyln, which is that it is a full-service 24-hour neighborhood."
  • Facade Manufacturer Shildan (Phase 1); Island International Exterior Fabricators (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Architects COOKFOX Architects with Greenberg Farrow Architects (Phase 1); COOKFOX Architects with SLCE Architects (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Facade Installer Acadia Realty Trust, Crowne Architectural (Phase 1); International Exterior Fabricators, Empire Glass, Elite Glass (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Facade Consultants Frank Seta & Associates (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Location Brooklyn, NY
  • Date of Completion 2012 (Phase 1); 2016 (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • System steel frame with terra-cotta rainscreen (Phase 1); Prefabricated mega-wall panels with standing seam zinc cladding and Skyline aluminum windows (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Products ALPHATON® Terra-cotta Rainscreen and BAGUETTE® Sunscreen by Shildan, VM Zinc (Phase 1); Rheinzink in “Blue Gray," Rheinzink in “Graphite Gray," Invarimatte Stainless Steel, Skyline Windows (Phase 2 Tower 1)
As architects increasingly confront the issue of contextualism of our cities, terracotta rainscreen manufacturer Shildan is seeing an enormous increase in demand. "We see many more terra-cotta projects each year, with projects getting larger and more complicated. Designers are pushing the envelope to create more complicated shapes, details, and custom finishes, and it’s not just the architects and owners [who] need to be satisfied. We work closely with various kinds of administrators, historic commissions, city planners, government boards and committees, etc—those with a vested interest in seeing the entire context unfold cohesively.” City Point's Phase One retail base is composed of a typical stick built facade with layers of waterproofing and insulation over stick built metal stud construction. An applied rainscreen system by Shildan is installed by first mounting a framework of sub-girts with integral clips to the facade. The open joint terra-cotta panels are then hung off this system. Moshe Steinmetz, president of Shildan, said City Point was a milestone terra-cotta project in the US for its incorporation of custom blends of glazes and profiles. "There has been more and more demand for unique glazing. We are now seeing unique glazing on the terra-cotta on about 50% of our jobs." Steinmetz says terra-cotta has a particular "wow factor" that provides an owner an exterior facade system that has energy savings, incorporates healthy wall construction (open joint rainscreen systems minimize mold and mildew growth), low maintenance, and high durability. He says 30- and 40-year-old terra-cotta systems are clearly outperforming other building components: "You don't see the age of the building on the terra-cotta material - you see it elsewhere in the the windows and other finishes." The architects incorporated two terra-cotta extrusions into the design that are finished in a series of glazes and colors that helps to randomize the facade. The resulting variation promotes what their office calls an interest in the concept of biophilia—people’s natural affiliation to the complexity of natural patterns in the world. This subtle variation in the glaze and the variation in profiles and the way they are randomly deployed is to create a somewhat more natural pattern and rhythm,” said Susie Teal, senior associate at COOKFOX. This interest in patterning can also be seen in Phase Two, which was recently completed. At over 1 million square feet, this phase includes a retail podium and two residential towers that involve separate developers with separate programs. Teal said Tower One includes 80% affordable housing and features a “low-budget facade system” composed of prefabricated “megapanels,” unitized 10-by-40-foot panels, by Island International Exterior Fabricators in a defunct Long Island-based airplane hanger. The panels were craned off a truck, set onto the facade, and gasketed together for rapid assembly. The wall panels are finished in a standing seam zinc with staggered spacing varying from 5-inches, 10-inches, and 20-inches. Randomly locating the zinc standing seams helped the architects visually conceal large 1-inch joints while mimicking a more varied natural pattern. "This helps to blend in a construction system so you don't see a lot of seams," said Teal. “Also, zinc is a natural material—most famously used in Parisian roofs. It lasts a long time and patinas dependent on the local atmospheric conditions. The north side might end up weathering different than the south side. This was all intentional. In order to watch this material change, we have randomly distributed stainless steel panels that will stay bright and shiny.”
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LAMAS crafts a simple, multipurpose aesthetic for a compact Brooklyn bookstore

“Whimsical Shaker,” is how WH Vivian Lee, principal and cofounder of LAMAS described the design of Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab, a children’s bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The 650-square-foot space is maximized with this simple, multipurpose aesthetic, from the bookshelves along a classic Shaker chair rail (the chairs can be hung up as well when not in use) to the drop leaf tables and chairs that the firm designed. “The display furniture takes on a playful quality because the half-arc is not only a motif, it also takes advantage of MDF [medium density fiberboard]—the drop leaf ‘petal tables’ were cut out of the half-arc display tables,” explained Lee. To brighten the formerly dark space, Lee and her partner James Macgillivray employed a dual-sided painting concept where one side of the furniture is white and the other side is brightly colored. “We wanted to accentuate the shading of the real world literally onto the building,” Macgillivray said. In the back of the bookshop, a small classroom is used for after-school creative writing, drawing, and storytelling programs.

> Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab 458 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY Tel: 718-369-1167 Architect: Lee and Macgillivray Architecture Studio (LAMAS)

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2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Residential: Clinton Hill Courtyard House by O’Neill McVoy Architects

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it’s grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you. 2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Residential: Clinton Hill Courtyard House Architect: O’Neill McVoy Architects Location: Brooklyn, NY

To turn this dark and narrow historic carriage house into an open, inviting home for a young family, O’Neill McVoy Architects created two light volumes within the structure that would bring sun and nature into the center of the house. The first, cut from the second floor, illuminates the master bedroom, library, and living area below, while the second creates a central garden on the first floor. White-stained plywood accents and a perforated stairwell help create a feeling of expansiveness within the home.

Structural Engineer Robert Silman Associates

Contractor Harper Design Build Stairwell Fabrication B Fabrication Glass Courtyard Enclosure Duratherm Windows Skylights Wasco Skylights and Supreme Skylights

Honorable Mention, Interior > Residential: 2902 at the W Residences

Architects: Page with Furman + Keil Architects Location: Austin, TX

Inspired by Carlo Scarpa’s interest in color and materiality and his fascination with vertical edges, the team sought to create a series of intimate spaces that flow into one another with a pared-down aesthetic, muted tones, and luxurious materials.

Honorable Mention, Interior > Residential: Garrison Residence

Architects: Patrick Tighe Architecture Location: Redondo Beach, CA

Located one block from the Pacific Ocean, this three-story house has a simple massing punctuated with articulated openings that frame views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.

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New co-working space for designers and creatives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn completes construction

Opening to the public in the new year, and featuring a slew of to-be-determined programs and events, creative hub A/D/O stands on a quiet corner in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The coworking space—developed by MINI and designed by nARCHITECTS—will cater to creative and design professionals and house URBAN-X, an accelerator for innovative hardware startups. A/D/O will also act as a portfolio project for the car company as it explores non-automotive ideas.

The 23,000-square-foot former warehouse at 29 Norman Avenue will offer 24 private desks for emerging and established designers (selected through an application process), as well as access to studio spaces and an array of design tools to prototype ideas in-house. A/D/O also includes a cafe, a design store, exhibition spaces, and indoor and outdoor hangout spaces, all oriented around a vast abundance of free working space that will be open to the public.

In a city where a good 90 percent of co-working spaces are member-only, A/D/O seeks “to flip the idea of working spaces on its head,” said managing director Nate Pinsley. “We thought it was far more interesting that the majority of the space is very permeable, so that people can figure out how [A/D/O] fits in their design life.”

With this in mind, Eric Bunge, principal at nARCHITECTS, explained that the concept of “remix” governed the approach to A/D/O’s design, applying the idea to both the physical building and its program. Rather than dividing the warehouse into different zones, “the spaces kind of bleed into each other,” Bunge said, maintaining that “transparent connections to the main event space” allow people to “see what would normally be going on behind closed doors.”

At the core of its programming, A/D/O’s Design Academy will seek to foster critical conversations around the future of design to explore “opportunities for cross-fertilization between disciplines of design,” said Daniel Pittman, A/D/O’s director of design, as well as “how those different disciplines interact with the broader world.”

The space is oriented around the engagement between designers and non-designers, seeking “that sweet spot between the more intellectual group that will be in the space, and the people who have a respect for it, but are not credited in the field,” said cultural programming director Alyse Archer-Coité.

This past fall, the A/D/O played host to a series of events to ramp up the buzz around the new space, including the Open House New York Weekend Launch Party, the Architectural League of New York’s Beaux Arts Ball, and, more recently, The Future Series, presented by B&O Play.

With regard to what sets A/D/O apart from the other maker-spaces in Brooklyn, Archer-Coité believes that its strength lies in its flexibility. “The space affords options for designers to bring some of their more wild projects to life, and for projects that have had lives outside of New York to be celebrated or workshopped,” she said. “In New York there isn’t that flexible space for activating certain projects like that. It’s an asset that would make certain projects possible that wouldn’t be otherwise.”

For more on A/D/O, visit their website here.

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1100 Architect transforms 80-year-old church into a performing arts center

The Berkeley Carroll School, Performing Arts Center—located on the northern ridge of Park Slope in Brooklyn—was once a church. Originally built in 1936, the structure has been transformed by New York firm 1100 Architect into a flexible theater and performance space.

The former 80-year-old church can now provide the pre-K Berkeley Carroll School with seating for 396 through a staggered seating arrangement that uses space freed up by the removal of the existing raised stage. Subsequently, the space can be reconfigured to serve as a lecture hall or venue for music, theater, events, and multi-media audio-visual performances.

After 1100 Architect responded to an RFP in 2014, construction began in March 2015. The center has now been open since September. "Both the faculty of the school and the student's parents are very impressed with the space that they now have," said associate principal Gwendolyn Conners, talking to The Architect's Newspaper.

Conners also explained how lighting and acoustic devices made the former church suitable for the school's needs. "The back wall required sound absorption most of all," she said. "We specified a perforated metal system with acoustic material behind. The perforated metal was ideal due to the school needing for it to be durable."
Sound absorbing panels also hang from the ceiling inside. The panels have been arranged by their density and distance from the stage: No panels are located at the front of the stage in order for sound to be reflected back to the immediate audience, meanwhile, to the back, the panel density is staggered to 50 percent coverage and then to 75 percent. Visually, this arrangement also allows members of the audience to glimpse the pre-existing dome above (which has now been illuminated from the inside with cove lighting). In addition to the dome, the church's simplistic neoclassical windows are a dominant feature both inside and out. Though they were never, as Conners said, "an ecclesiastical masterpiece," the windows illuminate the space with daylight—such as when the stage hosts theater and stage set classes. For performances, double-layered curtains are capable of shutting out sunlight when necessary, while also doubling up as sound absorbers.

Consultants:

Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineers: EME Group

Structural Engineering: Hage Engineering

Theater Consultants: Fisher Dachs Associates

Acoustical Consultants: Lally Acoustical consulting

Audio Visual Consultant: Boyce Nemec Designs

Code and Expediting Consultant: William Vitacco Associates Ltd.

General Contractor: Shawmut Design and Construction

Owners Representation: Seamus Henchy and Associates Inc.


Products and Vendors:

Acoustic panels at Ceiling:     Fabric: Guilford of Maine     Acoustic panel: Kinetics Noise Control HardSide

Acoustic panels at wall: Pani-Sorb modular Acoustical Wall Panels

Fixed seating:     Seating: Steeldeck Tip Up Bench Seating     Fabric: Knoll Hourglass

Loose seating:     Chairs: Knoll Spark Chairs     Fabric: Knoll Hourglass

Theatrical fixings Lighting: Barbizon Electric     Theatrical Lighting boards: Barbizon Electric     Rigging and Lighting Pipe Grid: I Weiss

Curtains:     Fabricator: I Weiss     Fabric: KM Fabrics, Seattle Fabrics Athletic Mesh

Flooring:     Stage Flooring: Oil-Tempered Hardboard on Robbins Flooring BioChannel     Linoleum Flooring: Forbo     Carpet: J&J Flooring Group, Broken Slate, Modular

Paint: Benjamin Moore

Signage: ASI New York

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Developers add nursery school with playful multipurpose kitchen to Brooklyn development

Prospect-Lefferts Gardens was once referred to by locals as “Brooklyn’s best-kept secret.” Now, developments—many of which offer vistas across Prospect Park and onto downtown Manhattan—are shooting up as the area surges in popularity. One of those is The Parkline at 626 Flatbush Avenue between Fenimore and Hawthorne streets.

The 23-story building, backed by developer Hudson Inc., is the tallest in the neighborhood. It offers 254 units as part of a mixed-income “80/20” scheme (a development that is granted tax-exempt financing when at least 20 percent of the units are reserved for low-income earners).

Aside from the rental units, a restaurant with a glazed facade can be found on the ground floor, along with a bookstore. As per the “Community Facility” zoning code of the area, Hudson decided to include a school—an expansion of the nearby Maple Street School—into the development.

“We could easily have opted for a doctor’s office,” said principal Alison Novak. “Frankly, a doctor’s office might have paid more for the space. But having a nursery school, especially one based in the neighborhood with a stellar reputation, was more appealing in part because it is a more attractive use to residents of the building. We also recognized that it is more difficult to locate a school than a doctor’s office, and we had an opportunity to support a neighborhood institution.”

Maple Street School is located on the second floor of The Parkline and has been open since September. The preschool, designed by Brooklyn-based studios Barker Freeman Design Office architects and 4|MATIV, offers three classrooms on the west side, all connected in a linear fashion through sliding timber doors. Holding approximately 16 children each, the classrooms can open up to form larger spaces with adjacent rooms when needed.

Even when closed, however, the doors facilitate connections between classrooms. Windows, placed at varying heights and shapes, can be found. Novak remarked how her daughter, who attends the school, interacts with friends on the other side, often knocking on and peering through the low-level windows. Around the north and west perimeter, large windows have also been included.

Inside each classroom, children have access to bathrooms and “play-sinks.” Alexandra Barker of Barker Freeman described how the sinks connect the inside and outside of the bathrooms. “The play-sinks store toys where the children can play, but on the other side is where they can wash after going to the bathroom,” said Barker. Situated in the classrooms themselves, the bespoke bathrooms prevent children from wandering astray when they need to go.

Another feature is a multipurpose kitchen area. Priya Patel of 4|MATIV said that a “big part of the curriculum is to teach kids through cooking.” Barker elaborated: “It’s a diverse space: At one level it acts as a kitchen-cafe area, whereas on another level kids can climb up and play. It also doubles up as an informal performance space and, due to its location, a gathering point that the whole school has access to. It was actually a big deal to decide that this was a specific space that wasn’t just the classrooms or lobby.”

Within this space, and indeed throughout much of the school, maple timber has been employed for flooring, cabinets, and other furniture, as well as a “peg board” (a board with moveable pegs that children can play with in the lobby when being dropped off or collected). With its white interior walls—left intentionally blank so children can display their artwork on them—and generous amounts of daylight, the school has a Scandinavian feel to it. “We wanted to materially represent Maple Street,” said Barker. “This was a big choice to use maple flooring, as opposed to something that would have perhaps been easier.”

Resources

Engineered Maple flooring: Kährs Contractors: Bolt Construction Developer: The Hudson Companies Design Architects: Barker Freeman Design Office 4|Mativ Design Studio
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Developer says Long Island College Hospital will not have any affordable housing

Long Island College Hospital (LICH) has officially checked out of the mayor's plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing.
Owner Fortis Property Group will not seek to rezone the Cobble Hill, Brooklyn site, which means it can build market-rate (read: luxury) housing there instead. Mayor Bill de Blasio fought to keep the hospital open during his mayoral campaign three years ago; when that option became unlikely, the mayor fought to convert the site, a 20-building complex, into a mixed-use development with an affordable housing component.
The all-powerful market has spoken, though, and it has quashed those housing plans. "We have decided to move forward with an as-of-right redevelopment plan for the LICH site," Fortis president Joel Kestenbaum told Politico. "Based on the high demand for community facility space at this premier location, timing, and other development factors, an as-of-right redevelopment is the most profitable." Right now, an NYU Langone–operated medical facility occupies the site, and a smaller facility will be included in the redevelopment under the same operators. When the hospital closed in 2014, the mayor's office pushed to rezone the site to allow for denser development: Plans called for moving the tallest proposed tower away from the low- and mid-rise residential neighborhood and closer to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which slices through Cobble Hill's western edge. Councilmember Brad Lander, whose district includes the LICH site, was skeptical of the density increase inherent in the rezoning. Lander would consider legal action if the development plan consists of a 35- and a 14-story tower, which the councilmember called "obnoxious" and "hideous." Fortis is still nailing down details of the conversion, though plans are said to include retail, a school, and green space.
The hospital deal is one of many sites being studied by the U.S. attorney's office as part of its investigation into the mayor's fundraising practices and allegations of pay-to-play deals centered on real estate.
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Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s new garden is inspired by New York wetlands

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) opened its new Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden, a 1.5-acre project inspired by the wetlands of New York. The new section of the park was designed by landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and will act as a habitat for local wildlife. In addition to more than 18,000 new plants, the garden will also include a brook system, Belle’s Brook, which will feature riparian flora that can adapt to different water levels. The garden is part of the BBG’s innovative Water Conservation Project, an ongoing initiative to reduce its freshwater usage and cut down on stormwater runoff. BBG expects to cut water usage from 22 million to 900,000 gallons per year and reduce discharge to the city’s stormwater system from 8 million gallons to 2.5 million gallons per year.

Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden Brooklyn Botanic Garden 150 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York Tel: 718-623-7200 Designer: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

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Fight breaks out at Community Board 6 meeting over bikeshare stations

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

It turns out not everyone loves a pollution-free alternative to CO2-belching cars and overcrowded public transportation in Brooklyn. At a Community Board 6 (CB6) meeting last month, one longtime Cobble Hill resident lashed out at a board member over the location of the neighborhood’s new bikeshare docking stations. Even though the locations of the Citi Bike stations have been public knowledge for nearly a year, the resident was captured on video yelling at the member, who sits on the board’s transportation subcommittee: “Is there a bike stand in front of your house? What are you gonna do? “You’re gonna hit me? What are you gonna do?” An anonymous attendee called the NYPD to intervene but no arrests were made.

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Official images released of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Interim Brooklyn Heights Branch

Opened last July, official images of the Interim Brooklyn Heights Library have been released. Designed by New York studio Leven Betts, the space will be a three-year temporary home for the branch until construction of the new library—part of a high-rise development at 280 Cadman Plaza West—is complete. The interim facility is located in the parish hall at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, 109 Remsen Street. Development firm, The Hudson Companies is behind the project.

Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper through email, Leven Betts said how they "designed the Interim space to be a light-filled pleasant space of reading, learning, and community gathering that would function seamlessly for the branch and community while the new building was constructed." The firm also described their design strategy as "simple," aiming to "maximize the openness of the existing parish hall space while still providing for private spaces at the librarian staff area and the Multi-Purpose Room." The solution they said, "is a single translucent wall that bellies out at the ends to create the private spaces with access to light and fresh air and curves in at the middle to create a large shared open space for reading, studying and browsing books."

Using Panelit—a translucent honeycomb-like material—the wall has Walt Whitman’s poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry printed onto it. Whitman's work can be read in full as it spans the wall's 100-foot length. "The response to the design has been very positive," said Leven Betts. In fact, Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) President and CEO Linda E. Johnson said: “With its bright interior and comfortable environment for attending a program, learning a new skill or simply browsing the shelves, the interim Brooklyn Heights Library is as welcoming and inspiring as the neighborhood it serves." According to Leven Betts, BPL administrators praised the quality and speed of the project (which took one year from commencement of design to completion of construction).

Leven Betts are currently working on the total renovation of two other BPL projects, one in East Flatbush Brooklyn and one in Borough Park.