Take a tour inside the under-construction Empire Stores in Dumbo, Brooklyn

The Empire Stores' facade. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The Empire Stores’ facade. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Over the weekend,  AN joined an Open House New York on a tour of the under-construction Empire Stores warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The old coffee bean warehouse was built in the 1870s, but has been sitting empty along the East River for decades. By next fall, though, the Empire Stores will have been transformed with all the Brooklyn-type fixings you’d expect. Yes, there is an artisanal Brooklyn market featuring local purveyors. And office space for tech and creative companies. And cafes, restaurants, and beer gardens. Included in the mix is also a rooftop public park and a museum focused on New York City‘s waterfront.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archtober Building of the Day #9> Kickstarter’s Greenpoint Headquarters

Architecture, East, Preservation
Friday, October 10, 2014
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(Inbal Newman)

Archtober Building of the Day #9
Kickstarter
58 Kent Street, Brooklyn
Ole Sondresen Architect

“Nothing is better than doing nothing.” While this may be the maxim that many of us live by on lazy Sunday afternoons, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn it applies to the design philosophy of Norwegian carpenter-turned-architect Ole Sondresen. During today’s tour of the Kickstarter headquarters, Sondresen demonstrated how this sustainable principle guided his design process.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Jersey goes Brooklyn with new sustainable food hall

Outdoor beer garden.  (Courtesy MABU Design)

Outdoor beer garden. (Courtesy MABU Design)

You can’t keep artisanal pickles, earthy micro-brews, and locally-sourced popsicle sticks in Brooklyn forever. At a certain point, these gluten-free, all-vegan treats are going to want to explore the world beyond Williamsburg. Like so many Brooklyn residents before them, they’re headed for New Jersey

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Herringbone Whisky Bar by Taylor and Miller

Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Taylor and Miller Architecture and Design crafted a playful patterned interior for former contractor and whisky bar proprietor Steve Owen. (Courtesy Taylor and Miller)

Taylor and Miller Architecture and Design crafted a playful patterned interior for former contractor and whisky bar proprietor Steve Owen. (Courtesy Taylor and Miller)

Owner-built interior explores the transition from two dimensions to three.

For his latest venture, The Montrose in Park Slope, Brooklyn, whisky bar proprietor and former contractor Steve Owen (with partners Michael Ferrie and Alex Wade) wanted a rough, industrial look evocative of an Old World distillery. “He was coming at it sort of from an antique perspective, as a pastiche,” said B. Alex Miller, partner at Taylor and Miller Architecture and Design. “We were thinking of it in a different way.” Taylor and Miller, who had worked with Owen on several projects when he was a practicing contractor, noticed the prevalence of wood herringbone patterning on the walls and floors of the spaces Owen was inspired by. “We’d done some other herringbone studies,” said Miller. “We said, ‘This is something that’s often done in a high-end scenario. Let’s pare it down to the barest of essentials, just do it out of 2-by-4 pine, do it in grain on the walls.'” Read More

Brooklyn Bridge Park unveils 14 tower designs amid community debate

Proposal from Alloy Design + Bjarke Ingels Group. (Courtesy Alloy Design + Bjarke Ingels Group)

Proposal from Alloy Design + Bjarke Ingels Group. (Courtesy Alloy Design + Bjarke Ingels Group)

All the top names in New York City architecture are vying for a piece of Brooklyn Bridge Park, but whether any of their designs will be realized still remains to be seen. As community groups try to block Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plans to bring affordable housing to Michael Van Valkenburgh‘s celebrated park, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has unveiled 14 design proposals for two coveted development sites on Pier 6. Those proposals were unveiled just hours before a Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation meeting that was packed with community members voicing their strong opposition to any new development in the park.

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New York City and Investors Make Multi-Million Dollar Bet on Sunset Park in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Army Terminal. (Flickr / Der_Krampus)

The Brooklyn Army Terminal. (Flickr / Der_Krampus)

With tens of millions of dollars, New York City hopes to jumpstart a transformation of Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood into a hub for artists and tech companies. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the city is spending $100 million to transform part of the Brooklyn Army Terminal—an old navy-supply hub—into space for light manufacturing. That investment is just one piece of the millions of dollars flowing into the neighborhood from real estate investors.

While the money will be significant, giving new life to Sunset Park’s industrial corridor will take more than artisanal pickles and startups. It will take great public space and significant improvements to the neighborhood’s streetscape. At this point, however, it’s not clear if that type of investment is in the cards.

Continue reading after the jump.

Local Group Tries to Block Affordable Housing at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Development sites at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy)

Development sites at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy)

As AN covered earlier this month, Mayor de Blasio’s plan to bring affordable housing to Brooklyn Bridge Park has received steep opposition from local groups in neighboring Brooklyn Heights. They contend new housing development will eat up public space and that under-market housing would not provide necessary funding for park maintenance. Under a Bloomberg-era plan, revenue from private, market-rate development would help cover upkeep at the Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates-designed park. Under de Blasio, 30 percent of the two proposed towers for the park–one 31 stories and the other 16–would be subsidized. The groups opposing that plan have now formalized their opposition against it.

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Mayor de Blasio Goes All In on Urbanism in Downtown Brooklyn

Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. (Flickr / sbest2048)

Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. (Flickr / sbest2048)

In the decade since it was rezoned, Downtown Brooklyn has grown up in a big way. Just look at its skyline and the new apartment towers and hotels that call it home. The open air between those buildings will soon be filled because development isn’t slowing down—it’s just getting started. But the next decade of change in Downtown Brooklyn could offer much more than the first. That’s because as new buildings rose, the area’s street-level never kept pace: public space is still scarce and underused, streets are hard to navigate and dangerous, and educational and cultural institutions have been disconnected. Today, however, Mayor de Blasio announced strategies to change all that by injecting the booming district with new (or refurbished) parks, redesigned streetscapes, new retail, and better connections between its many cultural and educational institutions.

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New York Design Commission Announces Excellence in Design Winners

Architecture, Awards, Design, East
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside. (Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects)

LeFrak Center at Lakeside. (Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects)

Winners of the 32nd Annual Awards for Excellence in Design were announced last night at the Thomas Leeser–designed BRIC Arts Media House in Brooklyn’s emerging Cultural District. Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand to honor the winning projects, which were selected by the city’s Design Commission. “While Brooklyn is my home borough, I am proud to be awarding a diverse group of projects representing all five New York City boroughs,” the mayor said in a statement. “This year’s winners exemplify the Design Commission’s mission to enhance every New Yorker’s quality of life through public design, regardless of their size or location of the project.”  The 10 winning proposals are all unbuilt, but two special recognition awards were awarded to Tod Williams Billie Tsien’s LeFrak Center in Prospect Park and Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island.

On to the winners…

SHoP Architects Designing Brooklyn’s Newest, Tallest Tower

The site of SHoP's future tower, next to the City Point development.

The site of SHoP’s future tower, next to the City Point development.

SHoP Architects has racked up another major project in Brooklyn. The firm behind the Barclays Center and the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment, is designing Brooklyn’s newest, tallest tower. NY YIMBY spotted building permits for 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn, where the firm’s 775-foot-tall, 495-unit building will rise.

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Brooklyn Dominates 2014 Municipal Art Society MASterworks Awards

Architecture, Awards, East
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
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The Weeksville Heritage Center by Caples Jefferson Architects took the MASterworks top honor. (NIC LEHOUX)

The Weeksville Heritage Center by Caples Jefferson Architects took the MASterworks top honor. (NIC LEHOUX)

For over 120 years, the Municipal Art Society has been an important organization in New York City’s efforts to promote a more livable environment and preserve the best of its past. It’s successful preservation campaigns and advocacy for better architecture—such as its advocacy to rebuild a better Penn Station—are well known. Now the organization has announced its annual MASterworks Awards, and of the nine buildings selected this year as honorees, many are in Brooklyn, confirming that borough’s continuing upgrading evolution.

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Towers by Thomas Leeser and Enrique Norten Break Ground in Brooklyn

Enrique Norten's tower along Flatbush Avenue (left) and Thomas Leeser's hotel are under construction. (Courtesy Respective Firms)

Enrique Norten’s tower along Flatbush Avenue (left) and Thomas Leeser’s hotel are under construction. (Courtesy Respective Firms)

Construction has started on two towers set to rise in the BAM Cultural District in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Unlike most new projects in the area, one of the buildings to rise off Flatbush Avenue, a 32-story structure designed by Brooklyn-based architect Thomas Leeser, will not be luxury apartments, but a 200-room boutique hotel run by Marriot. The tower is one of the most architecturally distinct high-rises to arrive in Brooklyn in quite some time, with prominent, asymmetrical carve-outs along its glass facade that make it appear as if someone—or something—has slashed through its skin with a knife.

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