During the mid-’90s and early 2000s, blobitecture was all the rage. But it didn’t take very long for the trend to fall out of favor—because at the end of the day you can’t really build a city full of blobby buildings. But it looks like the movement just might be seeing a second life within residential design. In this 2014 renovation by RAAD Studio, the architects transformed the innards of a historic brownstone on the border of Gowanus and Carroll Gardens into an ultra-modern space with clean lines, sleek surfaces, and most notably, an amoeba-like sculpture growing out of the living room wall.
If you’re one for Brooklyn’s more hidden gems, travel with us to Gowanus, where a fixer-upper at 162 10th Street was rescued by an architect who redesigned it for her family. The end result is a sophisticated interior with treasures at every turn. We’re talking tons of reclaimed materials and details that give this $1.195 million townhouse a built-in story hour.
Conversations about the Gowanus Canal are usually accompanied with a quip about STDs or mutant dolphins, but all joking aside, there’s no denying its murky waters also carry quite a bit of mystery and allure. The infrastructure, the architecture, and of course what’s floating within, is nothing short of intriguing, because really, what’s actually down there? Researchers at the Brooklyn Atlantis Project are just as curious as we are and they’ve constructed an unmanned water vehicle to go where no sane man dare go.
Another eye- and volume-popping mega-project by ODA Architects may be coming to Brooklyn, and this week’s chosen neighborhood is Gowanus. A recently posted video by ODA delves into the thought process of Eran Chen’s burgeoning firm and provides some shots of their recent work, including the provocative rendering shown here. We recognized the location only by the “Stop & Frisk Hands Off the Kids” text scrawled across the defunct Brooklyn Rapid Transit Powerhouse building (the “Bat Cave“) and pinpointed the project for the full-block parcel at 175-225 Third Street purchased by Kushner Companies and LIVWRK last year.
Update via LIVWRK/Kushner’s reps: “The developers are not working with ODA on this project and these designs do not represent our vision for this site or the Gowanus. We are committed to putting forth an outstanding plan that respects the context of the neighborhood and responds to the voices of local stakeholders.” As it turns out, ODA is one of many firms that pitched, and the design was ultimately turned down because it was out of touch with the direction of the neighborhood. Though it won’t come to fruition, it does give some scale of what’s to come—which will indeed be transformative for the area.
There’s a new rental available in up-and-coming Gowanus, and it’s asking $2,550 per month. This one-bedroom has a shared garden and laundry facilities along with a dizzying black-and-white checkered bathroom that will either make you fall in love or just get really disoriented. But even if that’s not your thing, charming original details like tin ceilings and wide-plank hardwood floors more than make up for it.
You’ve probably seen the murals of Cuban-American artist José Parlá in the lobbies of One World Trade Center and the Barclays Center. With such high-profile clients, it’s no wonder he worked with starchitecture firm Snøhetta, who completed the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion, to create his personal artist’s studio.
Collaborating together, Parlá and Snøhetta transformed a Gowanus warehouse into a double-height workspace that retains industrial characteristics of the building like beamed ceilings, exposed piping and electrical fixtures, and concrete floors. To tailor the studio to their client’s needs, the firm re-opened old skylights to let natural light in to the middle of the work space, and they painted all the walls neutral grey tones so Parlá’s bright paintings really stand out.
By their very nature artists are visionaries blessed with an innate ability to create something out of nothing. Time and time again some of New York City’s most industrialized areas have seen rebirth as residential enclaves courtesy of these imaginative souls. Examples of such artist-led gentrification abound – think SoHo, Chelsea, and Williamsburg, to name a few.
So it should come as no surprise that it was two artists who came to the rescue of this former ink and brush factory located at 459 Carroll Street in Carroll Gardens and gave it new life as a practical-yet-cutting-edge home. Stripped to its core in 2006, the four-story manufacturing building built in 1888 was completely renovated into two distinct condominium residences, one of which is now on the market for $4.4 million.
Jared Kushner and LIVWRK could soon be making their way to Gowanus. According to The Real Deal, the pair are in contract to buy a 133,000-square-foot development site at 175-225 3rd Street, located right across the new 3rd and 3rd Whole Foods market and just around the corner from Lightstone Group’s 700-unit rental project at 363 Bond Street. Currently, the land has 600 feet of frontage and allows for commercial development of up to 300,000-square-feet, but sources say that one-million square feet of residential could be constructed if rezoned.