Adaptive Reuse

138-140 W 124th

Project Manager/Designer: Eugene Drubestskoy

Completion Date: June 2008

Location: Harlem USA

Visit: http://blessoproperties.com

Originally built in 1906 as a warehouse for the Koch Department Store on 125th Street, the building was once connected to the store by an underground tunnel. The building was also home to a speakeasy, frequented by the renounced jazz acts of Harlem nearby Lenox Lounge. Loft 124 features historic touches such as an exquisite reflecting pool set within a 40-foot void where the original elevator once was.Loft 124's vast industrial interior has been meticulously reconfigured into 21 residences, all featuring fireplaces and direct elevator access. The one-bedroom and two-bedroom units range in size from 960 to 2000 square feet. In addition, Loft 124 has two penthouse apartments and two residences with 25-foor high ceilings.The units at Loft 124 are bathed in light from four directions, and all but three have private balconies.

Lofts 1 on South First Street

Project Manager/Designer: Tamar Kisilevitz

Completion Date: August 2007

Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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This project is an adaptive reuse and gut renovation of an existing abandoned cheesecake factory in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. It is situated among two and three story buildings. The mustard yellow cast stone and concrete framed structure is in excellent shape, and lends itself to a simple residential conversion with large windows and 11 foot ceilings. The scope of work includes relocating the existing stair core and adding a public stair, and opening up previously closed in masonry openings.A new glass and steel penthouse floor shall be added on the roof to create top-floor duplex apartments, and will provide access to large private terraces and magnificent views of Brooklyn.Our design retains the building’s original industrial character, dating back to 1911, but gives it a residential edge with transparent glass railings on new discrete balconies, and the substitution of the existing loading docks with an access ramp at street level.The building shall remain in its existing color, and the caste iron cornice and first floor façade shall be dark grey.The alteration of the building in compliance with Article 7B of the New York Multiple Dwelling Law permits a new penthouse addition on the roof, which redefines the base and main portion of the building as a three-part façade and completes the building visually by creating a new addition that echoes the classical first floor façade in color and massing but uses glass and steel as a modern expression.

The Silos at Carroll Gardens

Project Manager/Designer: Tamar Kisilevitz

Completion Date: 2001

Location: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

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The design concept started from the analysis of the lifestyles of the two occupants; one welcomes people from the outside, but needs privacy once they are inside and the other is self-contained, but seeks stimulation from external sources.Inspiration was drawn from the inherent beauty and simplicity of the 6-inch thick exposed concrete walls, and the proximity to the canal and the Carroll Street Bridge as emotive elements, tying the project into a non-conventional landscape.The ultimate use of the space dictated varied treatments to the two silos; for the smaller one, partitions are removed from the perimeter to form a central service core, with the main spaces open to each other around the space.As the tanks were previously topless, a flat roof was built over the small silo that would provide a roof terrace for the writer’s studio, and a cylindrical sloping roof was built for the large silo with an elaborate ventilation system and wedge-shaped operable skylights that create a continuous flood of light overhead. Wooden rafters radiating from the centre outward provide the structure for the new roof.Prior to any construction, the silos were de-contaminated; thus, the structures were retained without having to provide additional exterior or interior coatings.Throughout the revamping of the once unused oil tanks, this project presents a successful new approach toward preservation of structures that might have otherwise been lost through unnecessary demolition.

'Sanctuary Condos'

Project Manager/Designer: Eugene Drubestskoy, Robert M. Scarano jr.

Completion Date: May 2008

Location: Fort Greene, Brooklyn

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The Sanctuary Condominium at 264-266 Cumberland Street is an adaptive re-use conversion of an early 20th century Neo-Gothic church long abandoned, and its adjacent rectory building located in the heart of the Landmark district of Fort Greene. Located on Cumberland Avenue, between Lafayette and DeKalb avenues, it is also in close proximity to Fort Greene Park. The two attached four-story buildings have been designed to include 13 apartments, and each one utilizes an organic aspect of the church from the beamed ceilings throughout to the arches in the main sanctuary. A rooftop extension was designed to maximize the property’s potential while maintaining a discrete profile from the street.Originally built as Our Lady of Pillar Catholic Church in 1915, the church and attached rectory buildings have housed various churches over the years and were eventually abandoned by the last congregation in 2003. With the advent of a new use and purpose, the condominiums were completed with a refurbished façade that respects and maintains the quality of this landmark. With its new use, the building is being utilized again in a vital and dynamic way and the community is further reinforced.The main design concept was twofold: first, to create the conversion of a spiritual place into modern residences with full respect to their functional utilitarian needs; and second, to preserve the unique aura of the space and its surroundings. Together, these two concepts enable the new use of the old structure to become an organic part of the streetscape. During the course of the alteration, new light frame partitions and walls were introduced without compromising the original basilica structure, which remains the core of the entire building. In the lower floors, the former sanctuary space manifests itself in the form of exposed heavy timber beams. On the upper floors, original gothic roof rafters and braces are fully exposed, which, in combination with the rose stained glass windows, communicate each apartment’s unique grandeur.An abandoned church has a stultifying affect on its street, as well as the overall fabric of the neighborhood. The adaptive re-use of this building represents a substantial renewal of the community, encouraging future projects to respect existing buildings even when the option to tear down and rebuild exists. Creating a residential sanctuary in a former religious domain has provided a beautiful addition to its immediate area in historic Fort Greene.

Clermont Avenue

Project Manager/Designer: Robert M. Scarano jr.

Completion Date: June 2001

Location: Clinton Hill

Visit: http://www.clermontarmory.com

This adaptive reuse project transformed the abandoned First Battalion #105 Field Artillery Armory, the oldest armory in New York, from a neighborhood eyesore into a community asset.Specifically designed to meet the need for affordable housing with respect to its historic context, 'Armory Towers' has set an example for others that quality housing can be created in unexpected settings, and it is well suited to the historic 'Fort-Greene' Clinton-Hill area in which it thrives.The 154,000 square foot development is composed of two six-story elevator buildings containing 111 units of middle-income housing that are connected by a large landscaped central courtyard.The cellar and first floor include 30,000 square feet of parking for 113 cars and 7,000 square feet for the newly created Community Partnership Charter School, in addition to the residential lobby.In keeping with the intent of maintaining a sense of historic facades, multi colored synthetic stucco was used throughout to create distinctive exteriors. Large portions of the remaining structure have been carefully preserved and act as bearing walls.Three of the original 130-foot iron trusses span over the large garden courtyard between the towers, parting the original masonry walls, exposed to the sky, in an attempt to capture some of the historic character of the original Clermont Armory. A hybrid system consisting of a structural steel skeleton, masonry bearing walls and light gauge metal framing comprises the structural system.The construction cost was $11 million, at approximately $85/s.f. In addition to the Armory' success as an adaptive reuse project, it has created a notable revival in the neighborhood.Since its completion many businesses, and restaurants have opened in the area. We take pride in the Armory' achievements, not only as an architectural statement but also due to its social impact, which we value equally.

Lofts1

Project Manager/Designer: Tamar Kisilevitz, Stephen Conte

Completion Date: July 2006

Location: Williamsburg

Visit: www.aptsandlofts.com

This project is an adaptive reuse and gut renovation of an existing abandoned cheesecake factory in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. It is situated among two and three story buildings. The mustard yellow cast stone and concrete framed structure is in excellent shape, and lends itself to a simple residential conversion with large windows and 11 foot ceilings. The scope of work includes relocating the existing stair core and adding a public stair, and opening up previously closed in masonry openings.A new glass and steel penthouse floor shall be added on the roof to create top-floor duplex apartments, and will provide access to large private terraces and magnificent views of Brooklyn.Our design retains the building's original industrial character, dating back to 1911, but gives it a residential edge with transparent glass railings on new discrete balconies, and the substitution of the existing loading docks with an access ramp at street level.The building shall remain in its existing color, and the caste iron cornice and first floor facade shall be dark grey.The alteration of the building in compliance with Article 7B of the New York Multiple Dwelling Law permits a new penthouse addition on the roof, which redefines the base and main portion of the building as a three-part facade and completes the building visually by creating a new addition that echoes the classical first floor facade in color and massing but uses glass and steel as a modern expression.

Sutton Street

Project Manager/Designer: Eugene Drubestskoy

Completion Date: December 2000

Location: Green Point

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The great challenge of making a space feel flexible and open was successfully met in this conversion of a factory building and subdivision of a large open space into loft apartments.Removing years of built up paint on both the interior and exterior revealed a strong, stable structure that could be the backdrop for the new apartment interiors.By placing the interior wall grid on a forty-five degree angle, unique interior spaces were created that provided the flexibility required by their artistic tenants, who signed up for units during construction as it became apparent by the demand that this Greenpoint loft building was a special place to live and work.In what quickly became an exercise in conservation, the green design of the building includes all those items which would award an LEED certification to the project.

Smith-Gray

Project Manager/Designer: Robert M. Scarano jr.

Completion Date: November 2002

Location: Williamsburg

Visit: www.aptsandlofts.com

The gut renovation, exterior restoration and addition to the dramatic cast-iron Smith-Gray Condominium building (138 Broadway Street), affectionately known to locals as "The Blue Building", constituted the preservation of a Brooklyn landmark.Our design approach was detail-oriented, and the careful design for the exterior restoration focused on the Corinthian columns, art deco detailing, large windows on the ground floor that progress into Roman arch-top windows on the upper floors, and subtle blue coloring.The facade details vary at every floor, which presented a detailing challenge for the restoration portion of the project. The overall effect gives the building a feeling of solidity and grace complimented by gentle blue tones, which change according to the time of day.The penthouse addition is hardly visible from the street, in an attempt to maximize floor area without compromising the impact of the building in its context and its historical significance.The apartment layouts take full advantage of light and air, and all mechanical and plumbing shafts were consolidated to create an environmentally conscious design.The blending of new and old has produced a sensitively preserved structure and exterior wall system, which wraps around 40 unique loft-style apartments ranging from studio to three bedrooms in size.The addition of two penthouse floors brings this building to a total area of 60,000 square feet, with a construction budget of $4.5 million at approximately $75/sf.The renovation of this distinctive building spurred the conversion and development of over 15 projects within a one block range. It has, in addition, managed to attract many young professional buyers to this rapidly gentrifying community by providing a luxurious lifestyle with state of the art interiors in a classical setting.

The Toy Factory Lofts

Project Manager/Designer: Eugene Drubestskoy

Completion Date: April 2004

Location: Metrotech

Visit: http://thedevelopersgroup.com

176 Johnson Street is an 8 story, 64,000 square foot industrial building, which was converted into a 56-family residential condominium. It is one of the first factory buildings in the downtown Brooklyn area that was rezoned by the Board of Standards and Appeals as part of a new master plan for the Brooklyn downtown redevelopment.In an attempt to preserve the continuous feeling of the currently uninterrupted 8300 square foot floors, with their large windows and elegant flared columns, and, in addition, in trying to avoid long corridors lined with doors, a layout was developed in which the columns are accentuated, acting as dramatic buffers between the public hall and intimate entranceways into apartments, broken off diagonally from hallway circulation. Full-height views around the columns enhance the dynamic sense of these entrance ways, while the main corridor ceiling is lowered to accommodate the tightly designed, highly efficient, mechanical core. Bathrooms and kitchens are also organized around a tight core, effectively reducing plumbing and mechanical costs and creating a continuous open main space that is rich with natural light and air.The apartments, ranging between 800 - 1,200 square feet, are flexible in their layout so that they can easily be converted into one, and even two bedroom apartments though sold as open lofts.This building combines all the luxuries of fine city living, with private parking and storage rooms in the cellar accessed by a newly constructed ramp, and a commercial first floor, including a gym and other retail spaces. With the up and coming development initiatives in this neighborhood, The Toy Factory Lofts development stands out as one of the most successful residential ventures in the area.

Rocket Factory

Project Manager/Designer: Tamar Kisilevitz

Completion Date: February 2004

Location: Williamsburg

Visit: https://www.citihabitats.com/

This project is a loft conversion of what was previously a factory building, located near the East River front in trendy Williamsburg. Our design for 75 artist lofts is an attempt to think outside the square 'loft-box' building, with its typical long corridors lined with doors.Our design was developed with a focus on minimizing public corridors. Two central hexagons consolidate the apartment entrances at opposite ends of the corridor, and a central hexagon provides an intersection between those and the elevator, stairs and public services. These intermediate areas echo the form of the hexagonal columns on most floors.The lofts were laid out to create a tight core of kitchens and bathrooms, leaving a perimeter of large open spaces, which are open to views, light and air, and yet are sub-dividable if needed.This, in turn, consolidated the mechanical and plumbing shafts, reducing the cost of construction significantly.A new elevator was installed, which terminates at a "sky lobby" on the landscaped and decked roof, taking full advantage of 360-degree views of New York City.