Photo by Suzanne Spellen

Alhambra Apartments on Nostrand Avenue. Photo by Suzanne Spellen

There’s nothing like a Gilded Age apartment to set the heart racing — or to inspire a swap for one’s first born, as the movie Rosemary’s Baby so famously depicted. That particularly coveted real estate showstopper was located in Manhattan’s Dakota building, home to stars from John Lennon to Lauren Bacall.

But Brooklyn has its grand apartment buildings too. These immense elaborate structures attracted admiration like no others — and they still do today. (more…)

Atlantic Yards Pacific Park Brooklyn's 550 Vanderbilt: Photo 05

Construction is proceeding at a rapid pace at Greenland Forest City Partners’ 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, part of the massive Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards development.

You may have thought the modular tower known as B2 or 461 Dean Street would have already reached its full height by now, since it was the first building to break ground, back in 2012, but in fact that honor goes to the market-rate tower at 550 Vanderbilt.

Designed by COOKFOX Architects, it embraces the company’s principles of biophilia and materials that are tied to neighborhood context. In more simple language, that means large windows will afford ample daylighting and expansive views of Brooklyn and beyond, with flowering planters at the sill. (more…)

Fort Greene Brooklyn's BAM Tower at 286 Ashland: Photos 03

Construction has topped out at Two Trees’s 286 Ashland Place tower in Fort Greene — aka the BAM South tower — one of the most interesting designs being built in Brooklyn today.

You can actually start to make out the traces of its uniquely faceted facade. (more…)

Red Hook Brooklyn Townhouse Renovation by Rafe Churchill

Four brick walls with some remnants of floor joists and staircases — that’s all that was left of a 25-by-50-foot three-story building on Coffey Street, erected in the 1860s by the Atlantic Dock Company as workers’ housing.

“You couldn’t even walk around in most of it,” recalled architect Rafe Churchill, who was hired to help the building’s new owners convert the two upper floors into a home for their family of four, with a rental unit beneath. “We had to use a ladder to get up to the second floor.” (more…)

Brooklyn Heights Townhouse Renovation by Lorraine Bonaventura

This classic 1850s brick row house — one of five identical structures on a North Heights block — was quite a gem even before its extensive renovation.

In the hands of the same family for 70 years, until it was bought by a couple of British ex-pats in the art business, it had suffered decades of benign neglect.

Beyond that, “it hadn’t been touched, it hadn’t been chopped up, and the details, although needing a lot of work, were somewhat intact,” said Brooklyn Heights–based architect Lorraine Bonaventura, who was hired to make the house sparkle again. (more…)

Karl Fischer Architect

Rendering of 26 West Street by Karl Fischer

When Brownstoner last wrote about architect Karl Fischer’s underwhelming design for 26 West Street, we acknowledged that it was “a cut above” his average work. But the latest rendering of this seven-story 96-unit Greenpoint building — though still an architectural patchwork — is almost not bad.

What do you think? (more…)

Bushwick Hotel Design ODA Architecture

Rendering of 71 White Street by ODA Architecture via ArchDaily

There was a time when graffiti signified dereliction and neglect. But no more — not in Bushwick, anyway.

Highfalutin architecture firm ODA — the designers of such refined boxy buildings as the Rheingold Brewery development and planned Pier 6 towers — have chosen to incorporate existing graffiti into the transformation of a dismal Bushwick warehouse into a futuristic-looking 100-key hotel with retail on the lower floors. (more…)

Brooklyn Architecture Modern Backyard Writer Pavilion

Photos by Cameron Blaylock for Architensions

The holidays can get hectic. Wouldn’t it be lovely to escape to your own quiet space for a bit of contemplation? Architensions — a multidisciplinary architecture and urban design studio based in Greenpoint — recently completed a peaceful-looking writing pavilion for the backyard of a Brooklyn client.

Check out this beautiful little building. (more…)

Carroll Gardens Brooklyn Townhouse Renovation

A series of perplexing decisions confronted architect Drew Lang of Lang Architecture as he masterminded the renovation of a dark and dreary sliver of a brownstone, formerly three apartments, and turned it into a bright and airy dwelling for a family of former Manhattanites. (more…)