The conversion of a 137-year-old sugar factory into a contemporary office complex requires a delicate touch when the building is landmarked—and even more so when it’s the heart of a complex, 11-acre riverfront master plan. The Domino Sugar Factory sits along the Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn on a SHoP Architects' master-planned redevelopment which also includes the James Corner Field Operations–designed Domino Park, SHoP’s doughnut-shaped 325 Kent, and COOKFOX’s mixed-use 1 South First. The facade of the Domino Sugar Factory is landmarked, but the interior, a tangle of sugar refining machinery, much of which acted as support infrastructure, was not. So, when Two Trees tapped Vishaan Chakrabarti’s Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) to helm the factory’s conversion, the studio proposed a radical solution. Rather than renovate the building, they would instead stabilize the historic brick facade, and drop in an entirely new structure with a glass curtain wall. “The original building has a simplicity and muscularity,” Chakrabarti, told AN, but the building's American Round Arch style arched windows rarely line up across floors and are a variety of different sizes. That meant that using standardized floor plates that touched the landmarked facade was infeasible. Separating the brick walls from the new structure negated the issue. By nesting the new building inside the old one, PAU has created a 10- to 12-foot-wide “breezeway” between the two that allows light to permeate all the way to the ground floor. This also affords each floor a different view of the facade. All of the original windows in the historic facade will be removed, creating a shell that will surround the new building, which will be stabilized with steel supports extending from the new structure. Chakrabarti, who helped lead the master plan while a partner at SHoP, described the site as a bridge between the past and the future, and the design fully embraces that philosophy. The glass topper that rises above the original factory’s roofline (but sticks below the smokestack facing Kent Avenue) consists of structurally-glazed mullions and heavily articulated glass at regular intervals. The barrel-shaped roof is reminiscent of an industrial skylight, but while it was a clear reference, the team didn’t want the contemporary addition to be too industrial nor compete with the heaviness of the surrounding brick. Rather than thinking of the building as having traditional front and back entrances—pitting Williamsburg versus the East River waterfront—PAU lowered the bottom all of the windows on the first floor of the brick facade to the ground, creating a permeable membrane and allowing the public to pass through. According to PAU, merging from the hardscape on Kent Street to River Street and Domino Park fulfills the pledge that SHoP made in the master plan to “pull” River Street out toward the public. While no tenants have signed on to occupy the offices yet, Chakrabarti expects that the building will attract creative industries thanks to the unique atmosphere. No completion date for construction on the Domino Sugar Factory conversion has been given yet, but interior demolition is ongoing.
Posts tagged with "Domino Sugar Factory":
For the first time in 160 years, a 6-acre span on the East River waterfront in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge is open to the public. Located in front of the former Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn, James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) designed Domino Park to inspire curiosity about the site’s history while including new materials to balance its unique identity with performance. A unifying element in Domino Park is its artifact walk that weaves throughout the site. According to Lisa Switkin, senior principal at JCFO, “Integrating the artifact walk with custom furniture made from reclaimed wood from the Raw Sugar Warehouse creates a unique experience where people come into contact with remnants of the original refinery and have an up-close relationship with those artifacts.” Throughout the park, JFCO-designed benches, tables, and chaise lounges create texture and a sense of community. The elevated walkway is supported by beams from the refinery, while other factory elements such as columns, lattice beams, and a loading dock are incorporated throughout. Stadium-style seating made out of the refinery’s salvaged wood creates a central gathering space in front of a water feature by Soucy Aquatik. The refinery’s influence is also evident in the playground, designed by Mark Reigelman, with its many nods to factory structures. It also incorporates part of the factory’s old floors. The park is organized into three areas. Each is connected by Hanover pavers selected in a mix of finishes for durability and color, “keeping with the tough, industrial look as well as maintenance and loading requirements,” said Switkin. The most active area, in the southern end, holds a dog park, a picnic playground, a bocce ball court, and a tennis court. The middle area is dotted with lawn chairs and features a fog bridge. The recreational stretch in the north houses the lawn, a beach, the playground, and the elevated walkway. Tectura pavers were chosen for the walkway because of the manufacturer’s ability to produce the long-format precast concrete planks needed to fit the dimensions of the walkway and meet the load criteria. Introducing new lighting by BEGA, Sentry Electric, and LED Linear, along with Landscape Forms’ Ring Bike Racks and Chase Park Receptacles, JCFO was able to work with materials that are highly durable and sustainable. Switkin explained, “These products created a dynamic urbanscape to activate the neighborhood.” Master Planner: SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations Landscape Architect: James Corner Field Operations General Contractor: Kelco Pavers: Hanover Architectural Products, Tectura Designs Lighting: BEGA, Sentry Electric, LED Linear Furniture: Custom benches, tables, and seating steps made with reclaimed wood from Raw Sugar Warehouse, Landscape Forms' Ring Bike Rack and Chase Park Receptacle, Elkay Drinking Fountains Fog Bridge: Soucy Aquatik Playground Designer: Mark Reigelman Custom Playground Equipment: Landscape Structures
As the waterfront park bounding the massive Domino Sugar Factory development readies for its opening to the public this Sunday, developer Two Trees Management has released photos of the finished esplanade. AN previously toured the site back in April, but the James Corner Field Operations-designed (JCFO) park has finally received its greenery, closed the holes in the pier, and installed the waterworks. As previously reported, the park runs directly in front of the circular, SHoP Architects-designed 325 Kent as well as the string of residential and office buildings master planned by SHoP (and PAU’s forthcoming conversion of the sugar refinery). JFCO's take on the Williamsburg waterfront programmatically orders the park so that the more active space is located near the Williamsburg Bridge, and the passive spaces further away. At its most energetic section, the park holds two bocce ball courts, a dog run, a 6,300-square-foot flexible playing field, and a volleyball court, as well as an existing skate park. The vibe mellows as visitors walk further from the bridge, with the Danny Meyer-run Tacocina in front of the picnic area; the taco stand’s patio has been decked out with appropriately technicolor outdoor furniture. An elevated walkway hangs over Tacocina, and park-goers can take in views of the waterfront on a catwalk made from beams scavenged from inside of the nearby refinery. The design is a reference to the site’s industrial past and resembles a gantry–an effect made more realistic by the long-dormant cranes lingering nearby, now painted seafoam green. In fact, industrial artifacts from the Sugar Factory dot the park. Along the five-block-long Artifact Walk, screw conveyors have been installed vertically, mooring bollards, signage, and four 36-foot-tall syrup tanks have all been turned into public sculptures. Even the children’s playground, while new, has been shaped like refining machinery. While the park is owned by Two Trees, it’s been opened to the public and subject to the New York City Parks Department’s maintenance standards. Interested visitors can walk the waterfront, run through the misting sprinklers, or eat tacos on the newly-elevated pier come June 10.
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.
After an unsuccessful first attempt before the Landmarks and Preservation Commission (LPC), Vishaan Chakrabarti’s Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) and developer Two Trees Management Co. have received the go-ahead for their plans to convert the former Domino Sugar Factory into office space. PAU’s design will nest an entirely new glass building inside of the factory’s brick shell, without actually touching the façade save for support beams. Slotting into the SHoP-designed masterplan for the former Domino Sugar site on the Williamsburg waterfront, the design from PAU attempts to bridge the gap between the project’s industrial roots and the five new buildings going up in the neighboring area. By pulling the top of the original factory off, the barrel-vaulted glass roof of the new 400,000-square-foot building can rise higher than the original structure itself, but not as high as the smokestack facing Kent Avenue. Part of the deciding factor is the way in which Chakrabarti and PAU paid homage to the detailing and wear in the original brick through the mullion patterning on the glass structure. It seems the board overcame the trepidation they had the with the scheme the first time around, when commissioners questioned the necessity of converting the original building to an encasing “ruin” in order to save it. The 10-to-12-foot wide “breezeway” between the factory and new office building will remain intact under the new plan presented. David Lombino, Managing Director of Two Trees Management Co., released a statement after the vote for approval. “Thank you to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for engaging in a productive and thoughtful review and for supporting this exciting new approach to making the Refinery building the centerpiece of the Domino redevelopment,” he said. “The new plan is better for everyone. It honors and highlights the landmark; it provides a flexible, modern and totally unique office experience; and it welcomes the public to enjoy this great piece of New York’s history.” Although there was only one “no” vote for the new proposal, the height of the glass barrel-vault was called out as it dwarfs the surrounding brickwork. PAU may still tweak the design as the project moves forward.
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has asked PAU to take its plans for the Domino Sugar Refinery back to the drawing board. While reactions from the public and commissioners were warm on the whole, commissioners debated whether the building, which has sat vacant for more than a decade, is a ruin or "armature" as Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) claimed, or whether the structure could—or should—be treated like an adaptable building. Essentially, PAU intended to use the facade as a mask for a glass office building. Instead of sitting right up against the old brick, the new building would be set back ten feet from the old, and workers could get outside and up close to the original walls via metal latticework terraces poking through the glass envelope. The approach, explained founding principal Vishaan Chakrabarti, would preserve the bricks by equalizing the temperature and humidity on both sides while allowing the architects flexibility within a challenging original structure. A round arched glass roof would dialogue with the American Round Arch windows that define the facade, while on the ground floor, the designers proposed a through-access from the Kent Avenue smokestack to the park and water that would would be open to the public. "We are guardians of the future of the past, and our central question is whether, through the restoration, the old can give new identity to the new," he said. PAU's approach is similar to a Beyer Blinder Belle proposal the LPC approved in 2014, a fact that Chakrabarti and developer Two Trees underscored in cross-comparisons throughout the presentation (PDF). The firm also drew inspiration from Norman Foster's renovation of the Reichstag, in Berlin, and to St. Ann's Warehouse, Marvel Architects' theater complex in an industrial ruin on the DUMBO waterfront. Purpose-built 19th century factories are often difficult to adapt for non-manufacturing uses, and the Domino refinery is no different. The part of the refinery under consideration today accommodated massive machines that boiled, filtered, and reconstituted sugar; the windows give the structure monumental panache from the outside but bear no relationship to the interior program. Consequently, the architects decided to give the new, 400,000-square-foot building within the old the same floor-to-floor heights throughout, allowing access to windows of uneven height on the terraces. From the outside, the mullion pattern on the barrel-vaulted glass roof would reflect the gradation of the bricks on the weathered smokestack, a nod to the old within the new. (The bricks, a project engineer confirmed, are in "generally good" condition.) Though PAU hasn't selected the glass yet, Chakrabarti indicated it would be as "clear as possible," noting that the firm is considering electrochromic glass for the roof. When he broke the news of the Domino plans last month, New York Magazine architecture critic Justin Davidson called the 19th-century structure a ruin. PAU maintains the factory is a "donut awaiting filling." But Landmarks wasn't so sure. "As an architect, I really like the aesthetic," said Commissioner Michael Goldblum. "To my recollection, this is the first time a building that is and was understood as an occupied volume is being transformed into an unoccupied ruin or 'armature,' to be read as an independent object from the [proposed] structure." "I'm not saying it's inappropriate, but I'm struggling," he added. On the public side, two neighborhood nonprofits supported the design, while the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) asked the commission to work with PAU and Two Trees on the specifics of the proposal, particularly the windows and desired patina. It suggested a public exhibition on the refinery to prevent the building from being understood as "just a ruin." Preservation advocacy group the Historic Districts Council, however, was not on board with the proposal at all. "[To] strip the building down to a shell would represent a significant removal of historic fabric and would destroy the 19th century industrial construction methods still exhibited inside—and both are important reasons for the complex’s designation in the first place," said HDC's Patrick Waldo. In light of the "ruin or building?" discussion, the LPC took no action on Tuesday, and as of now, there's no date set for PAU to present its revised proposal. Although today was the first time PAU's plans landed before the LPC, the renderings were revealed in early October. Back in 2014, Two Trees tapped SHoP and James Corner Field Operations to master plan the site. SHoP also designed 325 Kent Avenue, the square donut copper-and-tin–clad building adjacent to the sugar factory, a residential building that began leasing earlier this year. James Corner Field Operations' park on the waterfront is slated to open this spring.
The Domino Sugar Refinery has been an unmistakable element of the Brooklyn waterfront for over a century now – dating from the 1880s, the weathered brick façade, towering smokestack, sugar chutes and blown-up Domino logo are now synonymous with the landscape of Williamsburg. In the most recent stage of the refinery's redevelopment saga, plans have just been revealed by Vishaan Chakrabarti (founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, or PAU) for a glass addition to the building's envelope. PAU was commissioned to update the designs for the renovation after the original plans by Beyer Blinder Belle proved unsuccessful at luring real estate interest. In response to this challenge, PAU has created a nested design that expands upward from the refinery's main building – a vaulting structure of steel and glass placed within the original shell of the factory. The firm immediately realized that adding an interior to the existing, hollowed-out structure would be difficult – its staggered windows wouldn't accommodate a more streamlined layout of office floors. There are no direct points of contact between the two structures save a few supportive beams, creating a 10-foot breezeway between the new and old structures (and a ground-level wraparound courtyard). As the firm put it, the nested structure will be "inhabiting the [Domino] building like an armature." Between the glass and brick, there are balconies cantilevered out into the interceding space for lounging amid the plant's lines of open-air windows. PAU's reinterpretation has essentially stripped the refinery of all its industrial space and preserved the outer shell as a historic barricade or ruin. In New York Magazine, Justin Davidson astutely pointed out the only structure he could think of taking an entirely similar approach dates from antiquity – a church built inside a 1000-year old Greek temple in Sicily. The refinery redesign is just one of many developments for the total Domino property – five neighboring buildings of which have been designed by SHoP Architects. Chakrabarti himself is a former partner at SHoP, though he left in 2015 to found his own firm, partly out of a desire to shift into public-sector work. As PAU's website lays out, their work is oriented towards cultural and institutional projects, prototypes linking technology and the city, urban master planning, and public space design. What they don't do: single-family suburban homes, work for autocratic/dictatorial nations, work for clients with "unacceptable environmental practices," or "facilities that manufacture arms." The social tilt of Chakrabarti's work has become marked – most recently, the firm released plans for a rehab of New York City's notoriously clogged-up Penn Station and a proposal for a new Indian Museum of Independence.
Today, real estate development firm Two Trees Management released new images of the James Corner Field Operations (JCFO)–designed Domino Park, which will line the waterfront of the 11-acre Domino Sugar redevelopment site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In its press release, Two Trees confirmed that the park is on track to open in the summer of 2018, as per its original estimates. “By opening Domino Park in its entirety next summer—ahead of the site’s new waterfront buildings—we are delivering on our commitment to bring waterfront access and much-needed public park space to North Brooklyn,” said Two Trees principal Jed Walentas in the press release. “Weaving in industrial remnants of the factory, Domino Park will serve as a living, breathing reminder of the history of this storied neighborhood.” As part of its design, JCFO preserved 21 columns from the site's Raw Sugar Warehouse, 585 linear feet of crane tracks, and 30 other "industrial artifacts" that will be used in the park. This includes "36-feet tall cylindrical tanks that collected syrup during the refining process, mooring bollards, bucket elevators, and various dials and meters from the factory." JCFO is extending River Street to run the length of the park, all the way from Grand Street to S. 5th Street at the base of the Williamsburg bridge. The aforementioned artifacts (including two 80-foot-tall cranes) will feature prominently in the aptly-named "Artifact Walk," a five-block stretch that includes a "450-foot-long elevated walkway" inspired by the catwalks of the old sugar factory. When complete, the Domino Sugar project—whose campus is being designed by SHoP Architects—will feature 380,000 square feet of offices and 2,800 rental apartments (700 of which will be affordable) across four buildings. The landmarked Domino Sugar Refinery building, designed by the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism and Beyer Blinder Belle, will retain its facade and host the offices. 325 Kent will be the first residential tower to open, in June 2017
At 8 a.m. this morning, a construction worker fell two stories from scaffolding on the Domino Sugar factory site, 335 Kent Avenue, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, near the Williamsburg Bridge. The former factory is currently being converted into affordable housing backed by New York City and designed by SHoP Architects with developer Two Trees Management. "We are overwhelmed with grief by this tragic accident and extend our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and colleagues," a representative of Two Trees said in a statement. "All work has stopped on the site and we are working closely with the city to determine the cause of the accident." The Domino Sugar factory site is an open worksite, although union workers have performed specialty tasks onsite. This is the 11th construction worker death in the city this year according to the Department of Building. The majority of the construction worker deaths that took place last year were also on non-union worksites. The City Council is currently working on new legislation that would make worksites safer and the process of reporting injuries and fatalities more accurate. Now, a special session regarding this legislation has been called before the year’s end. Slated to open in 2018, the Domino Sugar Factory building will have a total of 500 apartments, 105 of which will be affordable units. The redevelopment will be a total of 600,000 square feet and will also include office space, ground-floor retail, terraces, and an open plaza, as well as access to the waterfront, a new five plus acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations, and a new ferry landing. The former factory is an exterior landmark, so the 19th-century redbrick facade will remain unchanged. However, new “industrial luxury” amenities will be used throughout such as exposed brick, ceiling beams, will define the interior spaces.
As AN has been reporting for a while now, it's all systems go for the long-stalled Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment on the Brooklyn waterfront. Crews have been demolishing old structures on the site for months, and today we got word that the developer, Two Trees, is breaking ground on the massive project's first residential building: a 16-story, 500-unit rental building designed by SHoP, which is designing the entire project. In a press release, the developer noted that "approximately 105" of the 500 units will be designated as affordable. With news of the groundbreaking also comes a new rendering of the building that gives us a better sense of its design. While its overall form appears to be roughly the same, with terraces that create a cascading effect, its materials have clearly changed. Atop a masonry podium, SHoP said the building will be clad in industrial materials like zinc and copper. The building is slated to be completed in 2017. Two Trees also announced that it's starting to repair the site's waterfront pier to accommodate an upcoming 5-plus acre public park designed by James Corner Field Operations. This prep work is expected to take between 12 and 18 months.
SHoP Architects has racked up another major project in Brooklyn. The firm behind the Barclays Center and the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment, is designing Brooklyn’s newest, tallest tower. NY YIMBY spotted building permits for 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn, where the firm’s 775-foot-tall, 495-unit building will rise. SHoP's high-rise will top Brooklyn's current tallest tower—388 Bridge Street—by about 200 feet, but its reign at the top could be brief. In June, the New York Times reported that enough air rights could be picked up on the same block as the SHoP tower—at the site of Junior's Cheesecake—to build a 1,000-foot-tall tower. There are no renderings for SHoP’s project just yet, but it will likely be a major improvement for Downtown Brooklyn's skyline, which is quickly filling-up with generic glass towers.
Before the old Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is razed to make way for the massive SHoP-designed mixed-use complex, it has been transformed into a gallery for famed artist, Kara Walker. Inside the 30,000-square-foot space, which stills smells of molasses, she has created a 75-foot-long, 35-foot-high, sugar-coated sphinx (on view through July 6th). The work, which was created in collaboration with Creative Time, is called A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, and according to Walker’s artist statement, it is “an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World.” Because of its sheer size, the bleached-white sphinx is impossible to fully see and comprehend from just one side; as the view of Marvelous Sugar Baby changes, so do the questions she raises. It is a work about ruins and time, female sexuality and power, and, most fundamentally, sugar and race. “A form like this form embodies multiple meanings, multiple readings all at once, each one valid, each one contrasting with the other,” said Walker standing alongside her work. Inside the cavernous space, Walker has also created a procession of figurines made of molasses and resin in the shape of smiling, basket-carrying boys who appear to be melting away under spotlights. Days before the unveiling, when two of the boys actually did melt away—or at least shatter—Walker picked up their pieces and placed them in the baskets of those still standing. For Walker, this installation was about more than creating another great piece of work and expanding her artistic vocabulary; it was about filling the factory’s final days with something grand. “It was my obligation, being given the opportunity to work in this space, to bring as much as possible into it because it is never going to happen again,” said Walker.