Conversion Possible for Crown Heights Church

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Church conversions are nothing new, but lately we’ve been seeing designs that marry the old structure to what looks like a new office-style building. Here’s the latest example, an old Romanesque Revival church most recently used as a school at 991 Eastern Parkway, where developer Brookland Capital appears to be planning a residential conversion. The company bought the building in May for $2,100,000, and has yet to file any permits.

You may recall the developer is planning a similar project in Bushwick. The architect on both is Isaac & Stern. The Wall Street Journal recently noted a similar plan to build a condo tower cantilevered over a church in Manhattan. ”Churches are on the radar” of developers, the story quoted a Halstead exec as saying, because of the rising costs of land.

In this design, the old church building is simplified and flattened so it looks like a facade on a stage set or a trompe l’ oeil church. What do you think of it? Click through to the jump to see how the building looks today.

Rendering by Isaac & Stern GMAP

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5 Comment

  • Montrose Morris

    A much more successful attempt than the Bushwick church, that’s for sure. I rather like it.

  • I know it’s just a render but it appears that people living behind the church facade will have their windows significantly blocked

  • What’s the point? Transcendant urban renewal? God at home? I can’t stand these fused structures. They are not particularly innovative, don’t preserve anything worth preserving, don’t blend into the adjoining streetscape, don’t even invite shock and awe. Just plain gimmickry, imo. If you check out Issac & Stern’s website, I don’t think these guys get high marks for architectural excellence on anything they touch.

  • Montrose Morris

    I guess because there’s not much left of the original church in the first place, it doesn’t offend me. If they had used a different church, one with much more exterior detail, I’d probably hate it.

    I am a great fan of sacred spaces, no matter what the religion or denomination. I hate to see them destroyed, but certainly understand that many are never going to be used as houses of worship again – the congregations and the money for buying and upkeep just aren’t there. They are also difficult to convert to living space without additions or some kind of major modifications, and again, if the return on the investment in terms of livable space and money doesn’t work out, the expedient thing for developers to do is tear them down. I’d rather they Borg-ed them into new structures than tear them down, generally speaking, although sometimes, I must admit, the results are very uncreative and unattractive.

    • That’s what I mean, MM. Church conversions are not new. And, I’m not against conversion of sacred spaces per se. Heck. As one who rather likes the new Brooklyn Museum (which so many detest), I’m not even against the concept of fused structures But the few examples of the Issac & Stern builds which have been posted on this site of late are not worth the blueprints that spawned them. From an architectural standpoint, I don’t see the point of “preserving” parts of the original facade to arrive at these rather corny results. Although I’m usually a preservationist in my thinking, these are ones in which total destruction and a whole new build would have the potential to be more attractive.