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This is the eleventh installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of the Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects. See the first ten posts here.

For the past couple weeks, we’ve been saying “we’re in the home stretch!” but the completion of the project always seemed elusively one more week away. This time, though, it’s really true. Floor protection has been removed. Books are going up on the shelves. Computers are installed in their final locations. And most exciting of all, our launch party is scheduled for next Saturday, October 24! (more…)

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This is the tenth installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of the Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects. See the first nine posts here.

We’re getting really close now even though the progress seems to be incremental. With construction, it always feels like the last bits of finishing take the longest amounts of time. The past week’s worth of work has been distributed over many different places so let’s run through all the accomplishments of the crew.

Lighting:

— After a hunt for missing parts, the unexpectedly complicated track lighting for the storefront windows has finally been installed.
— The linear fluorescents that uplight the ceiling from the tops of the bookshelves are installed too. We chose the warmest lamps we could find so that it wouldn’t have that cool-blue tone that some fluorescents have. These fixtures provide a lot of ambient light for the bookstore and make everything feel bright and crisp. The digital photographs make it seem more harshly-contrast-y than it is; in reality, the light from these fixtures is much softer.
— A couple of the recessed downlights had to be relocated because of coordination issues with the air shaft millwork. (more…)

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This is the ninth installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of the Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects. See the first eight posts here.

As we inch towards the finish line, it seems like a good week to discuss the design concept for the air shaft millwork, which the contractor is installing as we post…
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This is the eighth installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of the Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects. See the first seven posts here.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a bookstore! After many layers of plaster and sanding and painting, the ceiling is now finished and the lighting trims, diffusers, and speakers are all in. The floor installation was completed and covered with protection. And now it’s time for Iris Lasn and his team to install the perimeter millwork. Most of the wood for the cases was cut and stored off site. Once they bring it all in, it’s relatively straight-forward to assemble it and attach it to the wall, but making sure it’s all plumb and straight is a bit of a challenge since the floor is pretty wonky in some places. There’s a lot of shimming to make sure everything lines up evenly.

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The big drama for the week… (more…)

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This is the sixth installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects. See the first six posts here.

During the last two weeks, as the above photo shows, construction has been progressing briskly at 686 Fulton and it’s now a sprint to the finish.

greenlight-0911-image-2a.jpgAfter the electrical wires, lights, and mechanical ductwork were installed in the ceiling framing, sound insulation was laid in everywhere else. Hopefully this will create some acoustic separation between the bookstore and the residential apartments above. As soon as the insulation was in, the contractors hung the drywall for the ceiling which was a huge step in making the space feel more finished. A couple skim coats later, the ceiling is ready to be painted which will probably be happening as you read this. (more…)

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This is the sixth installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects.

This week, we’re mixing up the format by doing a short Q&A with our lighting designer, Peiheng Tsai of PHT Lighting.

Tell us about the general lighting strategy for Greenlight.

The lighting concept was to create various lighting fields that define smaller areas within Greenlight Bookstore’s tall and open space. Some fields are intended to be less visible while others draw people’s attention. A group of suspended globes of varying sizes and heights define the area between the entrance and the cash register. The walls of the air shaft are covered with feature displays that are illuminated by a series of ceiling recessed spotlights. A continuous fluorescent cove is hidden above the perimeter bookshelves to provide ambient lighting. And randomly placed small aperture ceiling recessed downlights gives focus to the book display. Finally, the children’s area in In the back area of the store is defined by another set of suspended globes, thematically linking this area to the front entrance.

What are some important things to keep in mind when doing a commercial project? (more…)

This is the fifth installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects.

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After a bit of a delay (frustrating and unsurprising), we got our permits and started construction last week! So we finally have progress photos to share with you! The space was delivered to us with the interior partitions already demolished, so there was very little that had to be removed.

The first phase of work being done is all the mechanical and electrical work that will be concealed in the ceiling—not the most photogenic stuff but functionally important. For heating and cooling, we’re keeping the system that exists in the space but adapting it to the new floor plan. This means re-installing a portion of the existing duct work as high as we could and extending it with new duct work so that it reaches the front of the store.
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The ceiling was re-framed as high as we could go giving us about a 10′ 6″ ceiling height. And the lighting, electrical wiring, and speaker wires are installed in the space above the framing. The metal box around each light is housing that isolates the heat produced by the lights, thereby allowing insulation to be installed right up to the edge of each light.

Finally, the wood trim on the facade has been painted … green, of course!

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Next week, we’ll do a Q-and-A with our lighting designer Peiheng Tsai about lighting strategies for the store.

This is the fourth installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects.

gl01_082109.jpgGood news at Greenlight! After weeks of eager anticipation, the DOB finally granted us our building permit this week. It was touch and go for a bit but our expediter came through! We’re all hands on deck now working towards opening as soon as possible. Next week we will have construction photos of the space to show you, but this week, we decided to discuss one of the key pieces of millwork—the cash wrap.
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This is the third installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects.

Millwork (a.k.a. finish carpentry, casework) is one of the most design-intensive components of any project—this is especially true for a bookstore! There are four primary pieces of millwork in our design: (1) the perimeter shelving (which will hold the majority of the books; (2) a central display piece surrounding the air shaft; (3) the cash wrap and register; (4) the storefront display and bench.

This week, we’ll take a look at the perimeter shelving which is by far the most extensive piece of millwork in the project… (more…)

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This is the second installment of a weekly blog hosted at Brownstoner chronicling the design and construction of Greenlight Bookstore at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene. Written by project architect Frederick Tang of deFT Projects.

Demolition is now complete and we’re pausing for a moment while we wait for the NYC Dept. of Buildings to approve our construction application and grant us a permit. As the gears of bureaucracy grind away, we thought it would be a good time to share some of our plans for the space.

greenlight2_080709.jpgOne of the most valuable aspects of an independent bookstore is its series of author readings and panel discussions—and Greenlight plans to have a lot of them! These events are great for the community and we felt like they should have some prominence in the space, so we created an area in the front of the store, slightly to the left of the entrance, where chairs and A/V equipment can be set up. The triangular shape of this corner makes it ideally suited for audience seating and we’re providing a small office in the circular corner that would work well as a backstage “green room” for authors. It is important to us that this lively function for the store be as close to the storefront as possible so that whenever there is an event it is visible to pedestrians on Fulton Street.

For pragmatic reasons… (more…)

Today we kick off a new weekly renovation blog series. We’ll let the blog’s author tell you about it...Last September, I came across a New York Times article about the Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting, two entrepreneurial Brooklynites with a plan to open an independent bookstore in Fort Greene. Their passion for the project and the amount of enthusiasm from the community was infectious and I sent them a note of congratulations and support. As an architect who lives in Park Slope, I was excited about a new retail store in the area especially at a time when so many storefronts seemed to be going vacant and I offered the services of my office, deFT Projects LLC.

Like many young practices in New York, most of our work is residential or smaller commercial spaces. Last summer, we designed the Bend and Bloom Yoga Studio on Sackett Street in Park Slope and the prospect of another commercial project of a similar scale was exciting. For the Greenlight Bookstore project, we are also working with Jarrett Pelletier, a former co-worker of mine and fellow architect who lives in Clinton Hill. I’ve been a longtime reader of Brownstoner and a fan of the renovation blogs (especially the “3rd and Bond” and “Bird” blogs.) Jessica already writes a blog about Greenlight Bookstore and she also writes about the literary life of Ft. Greene for the NYTimes blog, The Local. But it seemed that Brownstoner would be the ideal place to host a series dedicated specifically to the design and construction of the store. Compared to the other renovation blogs, this series will be relatively short — we’re thinking 10-12 weekly posts that will take us from the beginning of construction to the opening. For the first week, we’ll discuss the location, the demolition work, and see the empty space that we’re left with.

Here we go…

When we first visited the storefront at 686 Fulton Street, it was straight out of Office Space — a dropped acoustic tile ceiling, fluorescent box lights, industrial carpet, textured peach wallpaper and plastic desk cubicles.

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Until recently… (more…)