Posts tagged with "Brooklyn":

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URBAN-X accelerator wants to transform cities, one semester at a time

Meet the incubators and accelerators producing the new guard of design and architecture start-ups. This is part of a series profiling incubators and accelerators from our April 2018 Technology issue.  The age of the car as we know it appears to be winding down—that is, if the diverse initiatives started by car companies is any indication. For example, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the BMW-owned MINI recently launched A/D/O, a nARCHITECTS-design makerspace and the headquarters of URBAN-X, an accelerator for start-ups seeking to improve urban life. Although URBAN-X is only two years old, the company has hit the ground running thanks to MINI’s partnership with Urban Us, a network of investors focused on funding start-ups that use technology to improve urban living. Through that partnership, URBAN-X is able to use its funding from MINI to take on companies that lack finished products or established customers and then connect them to the Urban Us community. Through a rigorously programmed five-month semester, up to ten start-ups at a time work with in-house engineering, software, marketing, and urbanism experts and given access to the outside funding and political connections that URBAN-X is able to leverage. Competition to join the cohort is fierce, especially since the chosen companies are given $100,000 in initial funding. Architects, planners, urban designers, construction workers, and those with a background in thinking about cities have historically applied. At the time of writing, the third group had just finished its tenure and presented an overview of its work, at A/D/O, at a Demo Day on February 9. The companies have since followed up with whirlwind tours to court investors and realize their ideas. The diversity of projects that have come out of URBAN-X represents the wide-ranging problems that face any modern city. The solutions aren’t entirely infrastructure-based, either. For example, Farmshelf has gained critical acclaim by moving urban farming into sleek, indoor “growing cabinets”; Industrial/Organic is turning decomposing food waste into electricity; and Good Goods has created a platform for smaller retailers to occupy space in large vacancies by pooling money. Ultimately, as cities evolve and become more interconnected, addressing the problems found within them will require ever more complicated and multidisciplinary solutions. The fourth URBAN-X cohort will be announced on May 10, 2018. Notable alumni include: Numina A start-up that uses sensor-integrated streetlights to map traffic patterns. Lunewave A technology company that claims its spherical sensor for self-driving cars is cheaper and more effective than the LiDAR (light detection and ranging) currently in widespread use (likely a win for MINI and BMW). Sencity A platform that encourages human engagement in smart cities. RoadBotics A tool that uses smartphone monitoring to improve road maintenance.0 Qucit This software aggregates urban planning data and uses AI to optimize everything from emergency response times to park planning.
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Studio Gang’s new 51-story Brooklyn tower is revealed

Renderings for the new Studio Gang-designed 11 Hoyt condo development in downtown Brooklyn have been released. It will be the Chicago-based firm’s first residential project in New York City and located next to the downtown Brooklyn Macy’s building. Topping out at 51 stories at 664 feet, 11 Hoyt will be among the tallest buildings in Brooklyn—taller than any existing structure and only beat by the yet-to-be-completed City Point Tower III and the under-construction 1,066-foot skyscraper at 9 Dekalb Avenue designed by SHoP Architects. Built on the site of a former parking garage demolished for the project, 11 Hoyt is part of a broader set of changes and high-rise construction happening in downtown Brooklyn. The foundation is already laid with construction of the concrete superstructure to begin soon for an anticipated 2020 completion. The tower is distinguished by its rippling facade and punctuated by square windows, adding a textural quality to Brooklyn’s growing skyline.The luxury building will have 480 residences with interiors by Michaelis Boyd Associates, as well as 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities. Landscape design of the significant outdoor space will be overseen by Hollander Design. The site is being developed by Tishman Speyer, who is also behind the major changes to the adjacent Macy’s building, which includes the addition of a ten-story office tower designed by Shimoda Design Group.
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An exclusive look at Studio Libeskind’s first New York City building

Daniel Libeskind has been a New York City resident since his teenage years, but, as has been noted, the acclaimed architect has yet to realize a ground-up project there. That may be about to change, as Studio Libeskind has released renderings of its geometric Sumner Houses Senior Building, set to rise in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. The collaboration between Libeskind and the city is part of the broader Housing New York 2.0’s “Seniors First” program, a commitment to build affordable senior housing on land owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The move was first announced in a January press release where NYCHA, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) jointly announced four new partnerships under its 100% Affordable Housing program, its NextGen Neighborhoods program, and its FHA Vacant Homes program. Libeskind has been tapped to design senior housing on the western “site 2” parcel of the Sumner Houses superblock, a NYCHA-owned plot on the northern edge of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The 10-story, 129,928-square-foot apartment building will hold 197 permanently affordable units, along with over 10,000-square feet of ground-level community space for residents along Marcus Garvey Boulevard. “I am extremely grateful and inspired by this opportunity to contribute to the Bed-Stuy community,” said Libeskind in a statement sent to AN. “I believe I can speak for our entire team that our goal is to serve the senior community by creating homes that give a sense of civic pride and create more much needed affordable housing in New York City.” The firm’s design is a definite break from the boxy brick buildings commonly seen in affordable housing throughout the neighborhood. Libeskind has taken a more geometric approach, twisting and cutting away at the typical rectangular form to create an almost crystalline structure. According to Libeskind, the alternating open and solid elements and series of lifts and cuts are meant to create a lively interaction with the street and surrounding area. The building’s mass twists and lifts as it rises, and the double-height, glazed entrance lobby should give expansive views of the surrounding Sumner Houses block. Inside, corridor sightlines have been aligned to look inward on a central public courtyard. Construction on the Sumner Houses Senior Building should be complete in 2020. A comprehensive fact sheet on the building's affordability breakdown can be found here.
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Check out in-progress photos and new renderings of the Domino Sugar Factory

Ahead of its June 2018 opening date, Domino Sugar Factory developer Two Trees Management has released new renderings of the project’s forthcoming park, as well as opened the site up for a tour. AN had a chance to check out the James Corner Field Operations-designed Domino Park, as well as the completed 325 Kent Avenue and the ongoing interior demolition at the Domino Sugar Refinery. The SHoP Architects-designed 325 Kent, a doughnut-shaped rental building set back from the Williamsburg waterfront, was the first building to reach completion at the SHoP-master planned site. The 16-story, 500-unit rental building (105 of them affordable) began welcoming residents back in September of 2017. As the weather warms up, residents will get to make use of the rooftop amenities on display, such as curved concrete furniture, lounge chairs, and the central strip of courtyard that runs between the building’s central arch. Domino Park is taking shape at the foot of 325 Kent and is on track to open in only 8 weeks. The quarter-mile-long park breaks its programming into “active” and “passive” activity spaces, with the more active areas located closer to the thrum of the Williamsburg Bridge. The second Domino Sugar Factory tower, the mixed-use, COOKFOX-designed 260 Kent, is on track to open in 2019. A dog run, two bocce ball courts, a 6,300-square-foot “flexible playing field” and a volleyball court make up the more energetic half. At the other end, a Japanese Pine garden, 80-to-100 person picnic area, and the Danny Meyer-run taqueria, Tacocina, will sit at the quieter half of the park. A technicolored children’s play space designed by artist Mark Reigelman, with industrial pieces inspired by the sugar refining process, can be found at the passive end of the park, as can 585-linear-feet of elevated walkway. The walkway sits directly on top of Tacocina, and incorporates 21 steel columns from the former Raw Sugar Warehouse into its superstructure; the sight will be a familiar one to visitors familiar with Kara Walker’s The Sugar Sphinx. Linking each area along the waterfront will be the Artifact Walk, a five-block-long stretch that proudly displays historical refining artifacts salvaged from the site. Four 36-foot tall cylindrical syrup tanks embedded in the Syrup Tank Garden, mooring bollards, signage, and corkscrews have been installed across an elevated platform on the water’s edge. Damaged during Hurricane Sandy, the existing platform was raised to a uniform height above the river, and the new piles have been encased in concrete. To build a historical link to the pre-existing structure, a hole has been cut in the platform and visitors can view the existing wood posts and river below. Work on gutting the Domino Sugar Refinery is still ongoing, in anticipation of the PAU-designed glassy office space that will soon sit within. While the exterior of the factory has been landmarked, preserving the interiors would have been impossible due to the interconnected nature of the refining machinery. Even though the factory shut down in 2004, the thick smell of molasses is still hanging around the building at the time of writing. As for the park, although it’s technically private, Two Trees has opened the expanse to the public and is working closely with the New York City Parks Department. A representative from the development company has stated that James Corner Field had their designs reviewed and approved by Parks, that the stretch will operate on normal NYC park hours (dawn to dusk), and that they’ve given the city permission to claim the park if maintenance falls behind. AN will provide a final look at the finished Domino Sugar Park once the project is completed this summer. COOKFOX's 260 Kent will be featured in detail at the upcoming Facades+ workshop "K. Domino Site A: Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) & When and Why to Use It" on April 20.
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Artist Cj Hendry makes it all about the art in a monochrome-hued house

Australian-born artist Cj Hendry has dropped a full-sized house inside of a 22,000-square-foot warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as part of a new solo exhibition that probes the relationship between art and interior design. MONOCHROME will run from April 5 through 8, and features seven different rooms, each painted in single color palettes in deference to the art hanging in each. MONOCHROME, Hendry's fifth solo exhibition, is a departure for an artist known for her hyperrealistic black-and-white pen drawings of pop and kitsch items. The show centers around a series of crumpled Pantone swatch painting in each room of a 10,000-square-foot house, from which the surrounding environment draws its singular color scheme. Seven rooms throughout the exhibition, each playing off of a typical housing typology, have each been painted in their own bold color. The kitchen is green, the bedroom is fully yellow, a bathroom has been rendered in purple, the lounge in blue, the office in orange, the dining room in red, and a woman’s bedroom in pink. “People generally buy art as the last item, they find art to match their home,” said Hendry in a statement sent to AN. “I have become close with my collectors over the years and have noticed how differently they live their lives. Art is the first thing they add to a space and they design their entire home around their collection. I have taken this concept to an extreme level. Each room has been designed to emulate the art on the wall. The art is the focus, everything matches the art.” Hendry added that the drawings of crumpled color cards and resultant painting of each room was meant to give color itself a “physicality”. The interplay between familiar forms and unconventional color–an Eames Lounge Chair painted orange, yellow blue jeans–lends the items within a heightened air of artificiality. Monochrome will be open to the public from 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. at 276 Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint from April 5 through April 8.
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A show of monumental light “drawings” transforms space at Pioneer Works

Legendary English light artist Anthony McCall has brought his ethereal explorations of time, form and cinema to Brooklyn, with a new show at the Pioneer Works cultural center in Redhook through March 11. Solid Light Works uses the venue’s 30-foot-tall ceilings to project monumental light “drawings” through a pitch-black, smoky room, creating explorable sculptures that have form but lack physicality. McCall’s work have always been presented as experiences rather than pieces, with his light sculptures contracting and expanding over time and constantly changing the relationship between the viewer and the art. Solid Light Works continues that tradition here, with four vertical and two horizontal installations that were selectively chosen from the artist’s bank of over 250 potential pieces. Speaking at a Pioneer Works panel discussion on February 27, McCall discussed how the works in the show, while not site-specific, were all “site sensitive”; after the sculptures were chosen, curator Gabriel Florenz worked with McCall to build out a unique exhibition space complete with controlled sightlines and room for the lengthy horizontal projections. Somewhere between a line drawing, sculpture, and structure, McCall has described the inhabitable portions of his works as “islands of serenity,” where viewers are sandwiched between seemingly tangible walls of light and treated to an experience that feels holy. Drawing on the language of film, all of McCall’s work relies on wipes, a film technique where one image quickly slides over another, to shift the structure of the piece over much longer spans of time. McCall explained that while short performances might draw crowds, the same experience stretched out into an all-day event attracted singular patrons interested in interacting with the work. Much has changed since McCall staged his first light sculpture, Line Describing a Cone. In his landmark 1973 film, the artist uses a projector to “draw” a circle with a projector in a smoke-filled room, creating a three-dimensional cone in the process. Gone is the cigarette smoke used as a transmission medium in the first showing. Moreover, moving to digital projection from film has enabled McCall to realize the towering sculptures at Pioneer Works; film projectors were simply too heavy to hang vertically. Technology has also changed the audience, and visitors might find that the delicate pieces have been drowned out by ambient smartphone light. Pioneer Works will be showing Solid Light Works through March 11, but will keep the installation (and the building) open for 48 straight hours from March 10 through 11. More information about the show can be found here.
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Look inside the new Brooklyn outpost of The Wing, a women-only co-working network

Co-working network The Wing has opened the doors of its DUMBO, Brooklyn location, the first outside of Manhattan, and members can expect to find the company’s signature pastel pink hues, color-coordinated bookshelves, and eclectic mix of materials in play here as well. Founded in 2016 by Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan, The Wing was envisioned as a series of members-only co-working and social clubs for women, and quickly hit $42 million in investments. While The Wing only opened its first office in October 2016 in the Flatiron neighborhood, the company has been eyeing a rapid expansion, especially after competing co-working company WeWork contributed to its latest funding round. “Expanding to Brooklyn was a no-brainer for The Wing,” said Gelman in a statement sent to AN. “A third of The Wing’s current members call Brooklyn home, and it is consistently one of the most requested locations. We are excited to welcome new women into The Wing’s community and continue the company’s growth.” The Brooklyn branch is housed at 1 Main Street, the neighborhood’s former tape factory and home of the notorious Clock Tower penthouse. Keeping true to the building’s industrial past, architect Alda Ly and interior designer Chiara de Rege have stripped the ground floor space to its bare bones and left the columns, beams and ductwork exposed, and poured pink concrete for a distinctive flourish. The former factory also provided space for a double-height central atrium, and the duo used the opportunity to carve out a second-level balcony space. De Rege has said that utility and beauty don’t always go hand-in-hand, but despite being completely open, The Wing DUMBO uses the seemingly-eclectic interior finishes to break up the club’s different areas. While a pink granite dining table in the atrium draws attention as a central meeting place, the green velvet of the nearby conversation pit easily separates it from the subdued palette of the rest of the space. Color was a major component of the design, and the blues, golds and pinks set the plush interiors apart from the stoic wood-and-glass aesthetic of The Wing’s competitors. The café areas are marked by their thinner, more finely detailed chairs and pedestal tables, but the color-coded library is instantly recognizable as such by the assortment of plush and rounded couches. That lending library, curated in partnership with New York’s Strand Bookstore, contains over 2,000 books by women authors, and each bookshelf swings open to reveal soundproof phone booths. The partnerships don’t stop with The Strand. All of the featured art is curated by and features solely local women artists, The Wing’s café and bar, The Perch, serves food from women-owned partners, and copies of No Man’s Land, an-house magazine launched last fall, are available throughout. A podcast room, vintage photo booth, meditation room and shower are all open for members, but The Wing has opened its reception and retail sections on the ground floor to the public. The DUMBO office might have opened on February 26th, but if you want to join, you’ll have to wait your turn; the waitlist to become a member is at 13,000 names and growing. The company's fourth location will be opening in Washington, D.C. sometime this spring.
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URBAN-X’s latest startups bring AI to urban roads, floating cameras to the skies

At URBAN-X’s latest demo day, held at the nARCHITECTS-designed ADO creative hub in Greenpoint, Brooklyn yesterday, the incubator's third batch of cohorts presented technological solutions to urban problems, ranging from a “smart crane” to collaborative retail for small stores. URBAN-X, a startup accelerator and partnership between MINI and Urban Us, takes on up to 10 companies every six months, invests up to $100,000 in each, and connects them with business and design expertise. The most recent group, with nine companies, debuted products and services that were designed to change the way we live in cities, with a focus on the human-centric experience. Qucit (Quantified Cities) is attempting to improve not only urban mobility, but happiness, through artificial intelligence. While other companies have focused on monitoring narrow bands of things such as transit ridership, street usage, bike docking and other urban information, Qucit wants to integrate all of this information vertically into a cohesive model. By aggregating usage data, Qucit has already helped redesign a dangerous roundabout in Paris, and will be bringing its machine learning services to Downtown Brooklyn for a pilot project in early March. Swiftera is approaching similar problems from the air. By using a balloon and floating a camera above what drones can reach, but below satellites, the company is promising high-resolution imagery at specific locations with a short turnaround. By selling actionable geospatial data to planners, developers, architects and municipalities, Swiftera would be able to help monitor traffic and accessibility, as well as things such as roof conditions. Blueprint Power is addressing the disconnect between the energy grid and buildings by creating a market for the surplus energy that buildings are capable of producing. When the grid is stressed, buildings with co-gen plants or solar panels should be able to transfer their extra electricity back to the larger network, benefiting both the building owner as well as the general public and utility companies. This transformation of buildings into “intelligent energy nodes” would ultimately see the buildings’ energy systems automated and managed by an AI system. The complete list of cohorts and their pitch videos can be found here, as well as a video of their evening conference. While most of the group has already begun working with real-world companies, they will also be seeking venture capital funding in the near future. Keep an eye out for URBAN-X’s fourth cohort, which will be announced in May of this year.
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Brooklyn Navy Yard to double in size after $2.5 billion investment

Already in the midst of a massive expansion, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is set to get even bigger. As first reported by Bloomberg, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), a non-profit group that manages and develops the yard, is set to reveal a $2.5 billion expansion plan that would double the manufacturing hub’s square footage. Space in the Navy Yard has been getting tight as of late, with an ongoing $1 billion expansion renovating the rest of the existing buildings on the 4.8-million-square foot campus, and as WeWork’s 16-story waterfront office building, designed by S9 Architecture, nears completion. “We’ve reached a point where we have really finished rehabbing all of the existing buildings at the yard, and we’ve been over 99 percent leased for the past decade,” Clare Newman, executive vice president of the BNYDC, told Bloomberg. The new long-term plan will add an additional 5.1 million square feet of vertical floor space to the 4.8-million-square-foot campus, and create more room for manufacturers as well as tech-oriented office space. While the Navy Yard currently employs 7,000 people in a variety of fields, from carpentry to farming, the first stage of the expansion is expected to boost that number to 20,000. The BNYDC predicts those figures will blast up to 30,000 once the long-term build-out is complete. As the BNYDC is an interim group that manages the Navy Yard for New York City, who owns the site, they’ve chosen to fund the $2.5 billion plan through a combination of tenant revenue, government grants, and tax breaks. The Navy Yard’s enlargement is driven in part by the Navy Yard’s success in attracting traditional and high-tech manufacturers, and the campus’s limited size; Newman notes that creative companies and designers often start off strong and outgrow the Navy Yard. By offering larger facilities, the BNYDC can retain this talent on-site. The newest expansion plan will likely kick off with the construction of a 2.7 million-square-foot complex on top of what’s currently being used as a parking lot for cars and trucks. While no timetable has been set yet, the first building will probably hold 75 percent manufacturing space and 25 percent office space for technology and creatives. The second building will likely contain the same mix of space and be built on what is currently being used as a tow lot for the New York Police Department. The third complex in the long-term plan will be built on what is now the Bureau of Prisons supply depot, the last federal tenant in the Navy Yard. The three sites in question are:
  • Kent Avenue (approximately 13 acres)
  • Flushing Avenue (approximately 6.5 acres)
  • Navy Street (approximately 5 acres)
Other than WeWork’s Dock 72 office building, the current Navy Yard growth plan involves the conversion of Admirals row into a Wegmans supermarket, the expansion of the Brooklyn College Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema by Dattner, and Beyer Blinder Belle’s ongoing renovation of the 1-million-square-foot Building 77.
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Brooklyn’s Future Green wants to change the way we think about weeds

The Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices award and lecture series highlights individuals and firms with distinct design “voices”, singling out those with the potential to go on to even greater heights. 2018 saw two rounds of judging; first by a panel of past Emerging Voices winners, and a second to pick the winners. The first-round jury included Virginia San Fratello, Sebastian Schmaling, Wonne Ickx, Lola Sheppard, Marcelo Spina, Carlos Jimenez, and Marlon Blackwell, as well as members of the second-round jury, Sunil Bald, Lisa Gray, Stella Betts, Jing Liu, Paul Makovsky, Tom Phifer, Chris Reed, and Billie Tsien. AN profiled all of the emerging voices firms in our February print issue. Future Green founder David Seiter will deliver his lecture on March 1, 2018, at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan. For the Brooklyn, New York–based landscape architecture firm Future Green, “spontaneous urban plants” are part of a patchwork ecology that has the potential to transform our cities. Future Green’s work is another part of that ecology. David Seiter founded Future Green in 2008 because he felt disconnected from his work in more traditional offices, applying new landscapes onto a site when he wanted to “draw them out of the place itself.” Now grown to about 25 people, his office features a garden and 6,000-square-foot fabrication facility for prototyping new ideas and new ways of weaving contextual plantings into urban sites. A picturesque quality pervades Future Green designs, particularly architectural collaborations like the Atlantic Plumbing residences in Washington, D.C., with Morris Adjmi Architects, and 41 Bond Street in New York, with DDG. At Atlantic Plumbing, the 300-foot-long planted window boxes contribute to the building’s postindustrial character, while the plants climbing up from 41 Bond’s facade were inspired by a visit to the quarry that provided the building’s stone. Future Green will sometimes maintain these types of projects for years after their completion to learn how the plants respond and evolve. Nowadays, an outdoor venue on a former rubble-strewn industrial site in Queens, New York, takes an informal approach. Stepping into the 18,000-square-foot space almost feels like stepping into a friend’s backyard. It’s cultivated but not too cultivated, organized around three large earth mounds, shaded by a grid of honey locust trees that help remediate the soil, and planted throughout with weeds. “We were able to leave a lot of traditionally weed species on the site,” said Seiter, “and then we seeded in a lot of other species that are, I would say, on the edge of acceptable.” For now, Future Green is advocating for a new understanding of “native landscape” that isn’t driven by climate but by human-created conditions. The firm's largest project to date is Half Street, a mixed-use curbless street in D.C., located near the Washington Nationals stadium. On game days, the retail-lined street closes to automotive traffic and becomes a pedestrian plaza for 30,000 people. Future Green’s design draws from its context and the need for flexibility; it includes a paving pattern inspired by Pierre L’Enfant’s iconic plan for the city, large tree pits paired with bio-swales, and other “soft” infrastructural elements designed to manage both water runoff and pedestrian traffic while creating a distinct sense of place. Future Green’s design for Half Street reflects their belief that streets are “the foundation for good new urban space.” As Seiter said, “If we can actually design our streets and sidewalks to be more effective green spaces and more-actively designed spaces for the public realm, we can create a new garden city.”
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Renderings revealed for final tower in contentious Long Island College Hospital redevelopment

After a tumultuous history of protests, arrests and community pushback, the redevelopment of the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) campus in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, into a luxury community is moving full steam ahead. Now named River Park, renderings for the development’s final tower, 5 River Park, have been revealed via New York YIMBY. Romines Architecture PLLC is designing the 91,000-square-foot tower. Split into two volumes, the 15-story tower will hold 30 condo units atop a lot-spanning ground floor lobby and parking area. As originally reported in 2016, owner Fortis Property Group had opted to build out the former LICH site as-of-right, forgoing a rezoning that would have required the company to build affordable housing in exchange for denser development. Now, as shown in the project’s master plan, Fortis has moved ahead with plans to build five new market-rate residential buildings throughout River Park, and retrofit the landmarked Polhemus Building and nearby townhouses into luxury housing. As part of the first phase, which is ongoing, the Polhemus Building, an 1897 Beaux Arts “hospital skyscraper” and part of the hospital there until its closing in 2008, is undergoing an exterior renovation and interior redesign by BKSK Architects and will eventually hold 17 condo units. The second phase is the most contentious part of the redevelopment, as the five planned towers will bring hundreds of high-priced units to the neighborhood. A different architecture firm has designed each, as Fortis wants River Park to be seen as a “new neighborhood” rather than a cluster of residences. Information on 3 and 4 River Park has yet to be released. FXCollaborative (formerly FXFowle) is designing the 15-story 1 River Park at 350 Hicks St., which will hold 48 apartments ranging from studios to penthouses. While no renderings have been released yet, the building will have an outdoor pool, gardens, and something called an “amenity pavilion.” Hill West Architects will be designing the tallest of the River Park towers, as 2 River Park, or 339 Hicks St., will top out at 440 feet tall. While the exact number of apartments included in the complex hasn’t been made public yet, a rooftop garden will be available for residents that will offer sweeping views across the East River into Manhattan. The design fully plays up the site’s proximity to the river, as Fortis notes it “is composed of a strong masonry tower acting as the 'mast,' supporting the 'sail,' a west-facing glass screen that curves like the headsail on a yacht.” Fortis has described the design of 5 River Park as contextual, stating that it uses “a palette of traditional materials common to Cobble Hill, including brick, limestone and elaborate metalwork.” The shorter half of the building will also be clad in traditional brick in contrast to the more modern, dark-grey concrete of the taller half behind it. Construction on 5 River Park is ongoing. It remains to be seen where a healthcare facility run by the NYU Langone Medical Center will be relocated to; the continuing operation of the center, with its freestanding emergency room, must be included by Fortis as part of a settlement reached with the city. Construction in the area is expected to finish in 2020.
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Morris Adjmi-designed tower revealed for Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill

Morris Adjmi Architects and developer Jeffrey Gershon's Hope Street Capital have presented plans for a 29-story apartment building in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for permitting. The rise of the 312-foot-tall tower at 550 Clinton Avenue is contingent on the developer’s plan to consolidate the rest of the block into a single lot, and transfer the resultant air rights to 550 Clinton. 60,000 square feet of the 70,000 square feet required would come from the nearby Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, a landmarked church in dire need of façade repairs. The air rights transfer hinges on LPC approval of the church’s renovation, spearheaded by Li/Saltzman Architects, and the commission kicked the project back for minor tweaks at Tuesday’s meeting. Adjmi’s tower would rise on top of a 52-foot-tall base that snakes around the lot to Atlantic Avenue and Vanderbilt. While the entire building would be clad in tan precast concrete throughout and feature windows with metal mullions, the LPC presentation indicates that the windows on the tower portion would be tripartite and span from the floor to the ceiling of the units within. Most distinctively, the tower would taper at the base and twist on the south side to meet the cantilevered upper portion. While 550 Clinton could only be built at 96,000 square feet as of right now, with the spot rezoning being requested and transfer of air rights, the final project could be as large as 238,000 square feet. 34,000 square feet would be for commercial use in the building’s base, while 202,000 square feet would be allocated for residential units. This would be allowed only through the application of Section 74-711 of the city Zoning Resolution, which allows concessions for height and bulk if a maintenance plan is set up for a landmark on the same lot. The LPC’s chagrin on the 9th resulted from questions over the materials that would be used for the façade repair of the church at 520 Clinton Avenue. Commissioner Michael Devonshire took aim at the developer’s use of composite materials to patch the front of the brownstone church instead of the original stone, noting such repairs typically last for only 25 years. Instead of voting on the residential development or restoration, the commission has asked Li/Saltzman Architects to address this issue and present at a later date. Adjmi’s design didn’t escape the meeting unscathed either, as critics called the tower project “severely stark” and inappropriate for a neighborhood where the buildings are typically brick or sandstone. The proposal comes amidst a development boom in the Downtown Brooklyn area, and 550 Clinton is only blocks away from the Pacific Park megaproject. The full presentation given to the LPC is available here.