Brooklyn, one building at a time.

This row of three Neo-Grec row houses is unique in all of New York City. There used to be four, and they were made of an old material that was making a new comeback in 1870s America.

Name: Row houses
Address: 536-540 Clinton Avenue
Cross Streets: Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: 1872
Architectural Style: French Neo-Grec with Second Empire mansard roofs
Architect: A. S. Barnes
Landmarked: No, but really, really should be

Landmark-worthy material
This group of three houses — originally four — were built in 1872 by A. S. Barnes, who is credited for the design. They are basically Neo-Grec in style, with some important differences. Barnes added mansard roofs and two asymmetrical top floor dormers, as well as two-story, three sided bays.

All of the doors and windows are framed with substantial lintels and framed with decorative incised ornament. The cast iron railings on the remaining buildings are original. As can be seen in the illustration below, the houses also once had cast iron cresting on the roof.

If that was all there was to these houses, they’d still be exceedingly fine. The detail work on this group is first rate.

But what makes them special — and should make them landmark-worthy — is the basic building material. These houses are not painted brownstone, sandstone, or limestone. They are made of Béton Coignet cast stone – concrete.