In one of the oldest parts of Brooklyn are the remnants of a now mostly forgotten colonnade row — not the famous one in Brooklyn Heights but another one in what is now Williamsburg.

In the 1830s, ’40s and ’50s, Greek Revival was the fashion, and all over the U.S. people were throwing up facsimiles of Greek temples, even if behind the impressive facades were perfectly ordinary, even humble rooms. An unknown builder here erected a row of houses on Humboldt Street — we can’t say exactly when or even how many — all with tall Doric columns running two stories, from rooftop to porch, over a low basement.

The houses were wood frame, covered in clapboard, and their large windows and doors were topped by impressive triangular neo-classical pediments. (more…)


Brownstoner popped into a few architecture firms Saturday as part of Open House New York OpenStudios, in collaboration with the Architecture League of New York. Above, Senior Architect Jacob Dugopolski of WXY discussed the next phase of the company’s Brooklyn Strand project.

More highlights and pictures from Brooklyn-based firms Alloy, Marble Fairbanks, SITU Studio, nArchitects, and Interboro Partners after the jump. (more…)


The Lefferts Place Mews, a collection of old-school-looking townhomes that are actually condominium apartments, is coming along nicely at 76-88 Lefferts Place in Clinton Hill, we saw when we stopped by recently to snap some photos.

The brownstone and red brick façade has gone up, the windows are in, and workers were just starting on the cornice. The collection of four buildings with a total of 31 units launched sales in October, starting at $625,000, as we reported at the time. (more…)


It’s raining Tetris buildings in Brooklyn!

We spied another Tetris like facade going up on yet another Bushwick building at 1138 Bushwick Avenue, pictured above. The frame building was undergoing a renovation after it and its neighbors to the right and left caught fire last year. It caught fire again last week, but the facade escaped serious damage, as we detailed in this post.

By our count, this is one of at least five buildings in Brooklyn whose geometric facades bring to mind the 1980s computer game. Most are variations on geometric patterns.

As far as we can tell, only the brightly colored mural on the facade of 1091 Madison Street, pictured after the jump, appears to be an intentional reference to the game. See and read more below. (more…)

WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design/renovation project. Produced and written by design journalist Cara Greenberg, you can find it here every Thursday at 11.


WHO WOULDA THUNK IT: classic mid-20th century furnishings, both vintage and reissued, working so beautifully — and looking so natural — in a late 19th century limestone row house? The full-on renovation by Dumbo-based architects Delson or Sherman was an update of a one-family house. Once the reno was under way, Brooklyn-based interior designer Kiki Dennis came in to do the furnishing.

“We inherited a lot of original detail that needed restoring and refreshing, but all our interventions were primarily modern,” said Perla Delson. Chief among these were an all-new kitchen and three new baths, a reconfigured garden floor with a media room and music room, and two outdoor spaces. The backyard was redesigned, with landscaping by Mac Carbonell of Verdant Gardensand a new roof deck added.

The homeowners, a couple with two young kids, “knew what they wanted,” Delson said. “They really enjoy cooking and wanted a modern kitchen, not a kitchen that pretended to look old.” (more…)

600 Bushwick Avenue Combo2

Six stories of modern glassy apartments will replace this low-slung brick building that garaged and serviced cars at 600 Bushwick Avenue for 100 years. The existing building, a Building of the Day in 2013, has a pleasing symmetrical design with Neo-Classical columns and triangular pediments.

The new design, by Hustvedt Cutler Architects, adds four stories to the existing building, and replaces its triangular pediments with glassy, asymmetrical bays and balconies. At first we thought the renderings showed an entirely new building, but the contemporary adaptation retains the brick base and second-story windows of the original. (more…)


Add Eliot Spitzer’s Kedem winery project to the list of mega-projects coming to Brooklyn. The long-stalled project is moving ahead and the ex-governor, now helming family business Spitzer Enterprises, today released renderings for three rental towers at 420-444 Kent Avenue on the south Williamsburg waterfront.

Permits filed in December were approved earlier this month, as The New York Times was the first to note, so the development could break ground soon. But first, the property will need to be cleared. A demo permit for an old low-rise building on the grounds was issued last month, according to public records.

There will be 856 apartments total, according to the Times, and 20 percent of them will be affordable. The design has changed dramatically, and details have changed over the years, with more apartments planned now than before — tipping it into mega-project territory — but the project adheres to a zoning waiver approved under a previous owner. (more…)

150211 RenderView context - DRAFT.psd

The design has been updated and permits were approved last week for the seven-story, 39-unit mixed-use rental building that will replace the gas station at 840 Fulton Street at the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue in Clinton Hill.

A new rendering shows the materials and colors of the building have changed, although the overall shape is similar. The glassy building has touches of bright orange and mixed materials that form geometric patterns on the facade. (more…)

Update: The rendering discussed in this post is an old design that will not be implemented, Morris Adjmi Architects let us know. The project “would not meet zoning requirements and is not being pursued.” Morris Adjmi Architects is in the process of redesigning the project. No renderings exist. The rendering previously posted on the construction site is also no longer current. Aldo Andreoli/AA Studio is no longer involved in the project.

89 Grand Street1

A radical change is in the works for the building replacing Theobald Engelhardt’s 1885 Palace Rink at 89 Grand Street in Williamsburg. The design has been completely rethought, and renderings first published by NY YIMBY show a completely different building from the one posted on the construction fence. Also, now the project is technically an alteration, not a new building.

While the old rendering was fine, the new renderings show a much more innovative design that capitalizes on the existing building and the site’s history. A new steel and glass building appears to rise through the ruins of the previous structure.

This makes much more sense to us than completely demolishing Theobald Engelhardt’s attractive and historic building and replacing it with a completely new simulation of a generic historic Soho-style commercial building, which was the previous plan. (more…)


Two renderings are posted on the fence at 265 Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, where a 19-unit rental building is planned. The design has a promising industrial look, with red brick and corrugated metal.

Although the buildings lining Van Brunt are typically small mid-19th-century row houses, the broader area is industrial. The three-story building is raised off the ground to comply with new requirements and protect against flooding. (more…)


The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce last week announced the winners of its 2015 Building Brooklyn Awards. The annual event honors recently completed construction projects that improve Brooklyn in 13 categories.

“The borough of Brooklyn is truly an innovation hub, where builders and designers can put their craft to use and enhance the city that surrounds them,” said Chamber President and CEO Carlo Scissura in a prepared statement. “These projects represent the creative influence and inventive culture that inhabit our borough.”

The judging committee includes architects, city planners, economic development experts, business leaders — including Brownstoner’s publisher, Kael Goodman — and government officials. It meets every spring to select the winners.

A celebration and ceremony will take place July 21 at the Kings Theatre. Guests of honor will be CEO of Industry City Andrew Kimball and NYC Department of City Planning Executive Director Purnima Kapur.

The winners are:

Green-Wood Cemetery won in the Arts and Culture category for its Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel Extension.

Brookland Captial won in the Adaptive Reuse catogory for its renovation and restoration of 156 Broadway. The long-neglected and crumbling former cabinet factory was made over into eight loft-like condos. The exterior of the building was restored on the upper floors, and a new retail space created on the ground floor. You can read more about it here. (more…)

WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design or renovation project, written and produced by journalist/blogger Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday at 11 am.

rustic-modern row house

SOMETIMES A GUT JOB is the only answer, as was the case with this 15-by-44-foot four-story row house in Bed Stuy. It had been ripped apart by a developer and then abandoned during the recession, even becoming home to squatters for a time.

“It was a total wreck. There was nothing at all worth saving,” says Gitta Robinson of Brooklyn-based Robinson + Grisaru Architecture, the firm hired by new owners to transform a shell into a home.

Brick party walls and wood joists were practically all that remained. At least the joists were in decent shape.

The architects decided to keep them uncovered on the two lower floors, to add ceiling height, and painted them white. Exposed brick was likewise kept exposed.

“There was a debate on whether it would stay natural or be painted white,” Robinson recalls. Natural won.

Where a chimney breast was removed in the dining area at the rear of the parlor floor, above, the void was patched in with mortar. The homeowners — he is a graphic designer and she a landscape designer — loved the effect and kept it, even matching the mortar treatment on the rear wall of the parlor floor.

In a bold design stroke, the architects removed 2.5 feet of flooring at the rear of the parlor level, creating an open two-story slot that connects the garden and parlor floor acoustically and lets in extra light. Ideally, the architects and homeowners would have liked to replace the whole back wall on the two lower stories with glass, but a tight budget prevented it. (more…)