In preparation for its 150th anniversary, the Brooklyn Historical Society pursued a vision of bringing the interiors of its attractively preserved building on Pierrepont Street into the 21st century, while still respecting the past. Working with Christoff: Finio Architecture, BHS created an airy, high-tech event space, dynamic new galleries, a reconceived shop supporting Brooklyn makers, and classroom space for student and community activities. (more…)
Editor’s note: We’ve covered BRIC House extensively, but this post has lots of new material on the architectural and design aspects of the development.
The Strand Theater had once been a grand Vaudeville theater among many show-business venues clustered around the intersection of Flatbush and Dekalb in Fort Greene. Built in 1918, the structure was in disrepair when the New York City Economic Development Corporation took control, leasing the building to two tenants: BRIC Arts|Media House, a nonprofit arts organization that produces and enables art and community media programs, and UrbanGlass, an artist-access glass center. Leeser Architecture was awarded a bid by the NYCEDC to transform the building into a functional facility for both entities while also giving them visibility from the street. (more…)
Set to open soon at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park, the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility makes a case for the social and economic benefits of good design, wrote architectural critic Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times. Designed by the increasingly high profile Selldorf Architects, rather than some engineers as is often the case with municipal works, it will be open to the public for tours, provide jobs in the area, and save New York City some money on waste disposal.
As for the design, “the facility is understated, well proportioned and well planned — elegant, actually, and not just for a garbage site,” he said. “It is an ensemble of modernist boxes squeezing art, and even a little drama, from a relatively meager design budget.”
A gigantic solar roof — Sims says it’s the largest in New York City — will help power the complex. Click through to the New York Times for more photos or to Selldorf’s site for more renderings. What do you think of the design?
Ali Vanderpool and Ariana Villalta were working at a high end design firm in New York City when they decided to take the plunge and open their own residential interior design firm, The Elegant Abode, in 2011. They recently completed a revamp of a parlor floor in a Brooklyn brownstone.
The rooms were previously decorated in a very formal style with traditional fireplaces, red striped silk curtains, and a red Persian rug. The clients asked for a more relaxed and functional space where they could entertain guests and spend time together as a family — including their three girls and the family dog. The designers aimed to create elegant and sophisticated rooms that would also be practical and comfortable.
The designers updated everything, including the fireplaces, floors, millwork, lighting, window treatments and furniture. They chose a neutral palette (their signature), with accents of purple and green. Texture was incorporated in the jagged Mosaic Sentousai stone fireplace and nubby fabrics. They selected “modern, sleek and structured” furniture, including a Pucci bench and credenza from BDDW. The fireplace was designed to be the focus of the room, “without being fussy or formal.” (more…)
Alexandros Washburn, the head urban designer for the New York City Department of City Planning, renovated his Red Hook row house with some innovations other city dwellers could make use of, including anti-flood devices. He kept the original staircase, but added an open, overhead flight of stairs to the top story that serves as a design element and lets in light from the roof, The New York Times reported in a profile of the house and its owners. The thick kitchen counters are made from joists salvaged during the renovation. Exposed brick and persian carpets, from his mother, who grew up in Istanbul, are strong design elements throughout the house.
“Mr. Washburn bought the three-story house in 2007, for $800,000, and spent another $500,000 renovating it,” said the Times. “Six years later, he is nearly finished, except for the ground floor, which was three feet deep in water during the hurricane.”
Right now, he and his family live on the upper floors, in case of flooding, but he would like to rent out the ground-level retail space. Toward that end, he is working on a system to keep water out of his house and his neighbor’s house during the next flood. If it works, hopes to get the DOB to approve it. (more…)
Handmade rug retailer Breuckelen Berber, located on the Columbia Street Waterfront, offers far more than an in-and-out shopping experience. Owners Nathan Ursch and Brin Reinhardt have created a space in which vintage Moroccan Berber carpets and other furnishings find a true home in a Brooklyn storefront. They had looked for a spot on Atlantic Avenue when expanding their business a year and a half ago, but Columbia Street was more affordable and, fortuitously, has since become a walking destination in its own right. (more…)
The restored Lakeside Center in Prospect Park opened earlier this year, but two forthcoming indoor-outdoor skating rinks (which will double as a roller rink and children’s water park in summer) are still under construction. The New York Time’s architectural critic Michael Kimmelman toured the site, set to open in December, and found that the contemporary design by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien fits well into Olmstead and Vaux’s 19th-century pastoral masterpiece.
The two pavilions, totaling 30,000 square feet, are clad in rough green granite, and nestled unobtrusively into the hilly site. The underside of the canopy of the hockey rink is painted blue with silver curlicues like skate marks on the ice. The building defers to the “scenic beauty of the site,” and is green in other ways too, including a green roof and low energy consumption, according to the designers’ own website.
Here, the architecture and landscape conspire to direct views mostly inward, back onto the park in its diversity. During the 19th century, Olmstead and Vaux gave Brooklyn a verdant open space to escape the hurly-burly and enjoy the scenery. In the 20th century, Moses added roads and recreation, peace and quiet be damned. Lakeside updates recreation for a new century. But it also recovers the tranquillity and natural wonder that are the first glory of this urban masterpiece.
Click through to the jump to see a rendering of the building exterior via builder Sciame. (more…)
In 2011, the owners of this South Slope property hired Leone Design Studio to convert the building, comprising three separate apartments, into a single-family home. Built in the early 1900s as an apartment complex, the structure never had a past life as a townhouse, and so displayed those characteristics one would expect: a large interior common stairway and no light penetrating from the back, only from a small skylight on the roof.
“It was dark in there,” said one owner, “and since our kids were one and three, they weren’t entitled to their own apartments yet. This was the principal reason for why the renovation was so extensive.
“These three-family houses were not the grand homes of upper-middle-class 1900s Brooklyn,” he continued. “They were built as functional housing for thrifty people who worked for a living, and who thus were not spending their discretionary income on frills. As a consequence, the house was notable not so much for its period wood paneling or molding, but for how solid it was.” (more…)
An architect’s vision for an extension can come from a number of influences, as normally there is more room to play on the back of a townhouse than on its façade. For this turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts house in Park Slope, architect Eric Schiller took inspiration from canal houses in Amsterdam, where his family originated. With spacious, arched windows and skylights on the upper level of the addition and sliding-glass doors opening onto the garden, the duplex addition makes the most of its width, clad handsomely in red brick. (more…)
Over the weekend, New York Magazine and Dwell Magazine hosted City Modern, a house tour of 10 modern style homes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The five Brooklyn picks were located in Boerum and Cobble Hill; the final stop on our tour was the beautiful Salle Residence in Fort Greene, formerly on the market for $10,000,000. (Sadly, we weren’t allowed to take interior photos of that home.) But after the jump, check out lots photos of a just-finished townhouse from the 9 Townhouses project, the James Cleary-designed condo build on Pacific Street, and townhouses on State and Dean streets. (more…)
Design Brooklyn is an occasional column featuring Brooklyn interiors, both residential and commercial. The column is written by Anne Hellman, with photographs by Michel Arnaud. They blog at Design Brooklyn and have a book of the same name coming out in October.
Even an auto-parts store can become a restaurant one day, given a clever conversion using car-themed remnants in the new décor. That is in essence what design group Hecho achieved for Speedy Romeo in Clinton Hill, the pizza-based eatery launched by Todd Feldman and chef Jeff Bazdarich in 2012. The designers and the owners worked together to create a space that includes its past life in unexpected ways.
A pizza oven burns brightly in the brick sidewall, while both the brick and the tin ceilings were spray painted to look as though fire smoke has rubbed them for a decade. Grills from semi-trucks serve as air-conditioning covers and caged industrial fans spin above, reminders of the earlier shop. A 1930s walk-in refrigerator was installed in the back, its wooden shelves taken out and repurposed as wall decoration over a banquette in the dining room. Other industrial pieces, such as megaphones and found machinery, were mounted throughout as ornaments. (more…)
The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, and Parsons New School for Design just announced the winners to a design competition they sponsored called Timber in the City. As Curbed noted earlier today, the competition asked architecture students to create a mixed-use development with wood technologies for a site in Red Hook. The site in question is the bus parking lot across Beard Street from the IKEA. According to Curbed, “Designs had to use wood as the primary building material, and they had to include affordable housing, a bike share shop, a wood production facility that could produce materials for buildings, and a smaller digital wood fabrication warehouse and learning center.” Above is the winning design, dubbed Grow Your Own City, from students at the University of Oregon. The plan includes low-rise buildings that house apartments, a restaurant, and bike shop, as well as one higher tower. They also designed an eco public park that the development is built around. The construction is of modular pods made of CLT panels; CLT is a fire-resistant engineered wood building material. To see the second place winner, check out the Curbed post. See all the honorable mentions at the official Timber in the City site.