Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Row houses
Address: 540-546 Carlton Avenue
Cross Streets: Dean and Bergen streets
Neighborhood: Prospect Heights
Year Built: 1889
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: John H. Crown
Landmarked: Yes, part of Prospect Heights HD (2009)
The story: Let’s face it, there is only so much one can design on a 19th-century, 16- to 25-foot row house facade. By 1889, when this row from 540-546 Carlton was built, the Renaissance Revival style of architecture was beginning to gain popularity. Less rusticated and eclectic than the previous Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles, early Renaissance Revival buildings often were constructed in familiar brownstone, and not so much the white limestone that would characterize the style after the Columbian Exhibition of 1893.
We know nothing about architect John Crown, but this unique group represents a return to cleaner, more ordered lines with Classical detailing in the carved brownstone ornamentation. Of special note in the LPC designation report is the fine Vetruvian scroll molding. That’s the wave-patterned design which runs in a band across the width of the building, above the parlor floor windows. All of the houses in the group are remarkably intact, with their original doors, the unique door hoods above them, and box stoops.
But the architectural highlight of these houses is…
…the unusual top floor half-round dormers which project from the pressed metal Mediterranean-style roof tiles. This is quite unusual and very distinctive. The dormers have louvers to allow the passage of air and light, presumably, and are decorated with scrolls that meet at the crown. Is there attic space behind here, or rooms towards the back? Anyone know? GMAP