Additions & Alterations

242 South 1st

Project Manager/Designer: Tamar Kisilevitz, Stephen Conte

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.

West 124th Street

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.

Smith Gray Building

Project Manager/Designer: Robert M. Scarano jr.

Completion Date: April 2004

Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Visit: http://www.hkorganization.com

Our design approach was focused in several areas, including a long process of selecting the most appropriate color for the restored facades, which has made the building extremely pleasing to the public.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 addition of the penthouse floor brings this building to a total area of 60,000 square feet, with a construction budget was $4.5 million, at approximately $75/sf.The renovation of this distinctive building constituted the preservation of a Brooklyn landmark, and 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.

Silo House

Project Manager/Designer: Tamar Kisilevitz

Completion Date: 2001

Location: arroll 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 Condominium'

Project Manager/Designer: Eugene Drubestskoy

Completion Date: May 2008

Location: Fort Greene, Brooklyn

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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.

Eldert Street Apartments

Project Manager/Designer: Tamar Kisilevitz, Stephen Conte

Completion Date: 2007

Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn

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Gut renovation of a previously abandoned four story and basement building, creating sixteen new apartments that respect the building's traditional style.

West 20th Street

Project Manager/Designer: Eugene Drubestskoy

Completion Date: November 2003

Location: Chelsea

Visit: www.blessoproperties.com

The owner of this Chelsea building wanted to maximize it's potential. Our solution was two triplex apartments, for which the fifth floor was gutted and renovated, and new sixth and penthouse floors were added.Breathtaking views of the midtown Manhattan Skyline and Empire State Building on one hand, and the picturesque neighborhood on the other were a guiding factor in the design, which was based on capturing views.In order to provide equal views to both apartments, they are built in a "zigzag" pattern rather than front and back apartments, resulting in equal exposures.A grand room with a kitchen, dining and living area is located on the fifth floor, with two bedrooms leading to a roof terrace on the sixth floor.Rather than a straightforward continuation of the existing 19 th century brick and fenestration rhythm, the addition creates a dialogue between its neighboring buildings by bridging them visually in height, materiality, and scale.Materials used include applied cement stucco, aluminum cladding, glass, and restored brick. The 2700 s.f. addition brings the building to 9500 s.f., at a total cost of $400,000.The exterior of the building introduces a breath of fresh air as the slanted window reflects the empire state building, and the new angled façade literally takes a bow to the neighborhood. On the interior, people standing inside the apartment can look down into the neighborhood and onto the skyline through a single opening, observing both the immediate context and the Skyline in a true hierarchy of views.

Washington Avenue

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

Completion Date: May 2007

Location: Clinton Hill

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The brownstone typology typical to the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn is used here on a larger scale to match the configuration of adjacent properties. Brick and stucco act as unifying elements, tying the building's exterior to its surroundings.

South 11th Street

Project Manager/Designer: Yury Yagudayev

Completion Date: July 2006

Location: Borough Park

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This existing manufacturing building was altered to comply with ada requirements for a manufacturing use within an existing non-complying structure in south Williamsburg.The building was subdivided for manufacturing uses and new hallways and bathrooms were added.

8th Street

Project Manager/Designer: Robert M. Scarano jr.

Completion Date: July 2006

Location: Park Slope

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This historic district in Park Slope preserves a unique typology of rounded row houses. In order to correct an illegal alteration dating back several years, all windows are being replaced with wood molds and wooden framed windows with aluminum sashes, in keeping with the windows that existed at the time of the historic designation.A discrete addition on the roof and in the rear, and the demolition of an illegal stair bulkhead in the rear yard complete the scope of work and bring this house to its maximum development potential without compromising its historic integrity.

99 Gold

Project Manager/Designer: Eugene Drubestskoy

Completion Date: November 2005

Location: DUMBO

Visit: www.99goldstreet.com

99 Gold is a renewal pioneer within the area's industrial landscape. An upscale loft conversion is the latest trend in stylish city living, which redefines the 19th-century concrete and block building, originally designed to house and supply New York's souvenir market. Following that industry's decline and decades of misuse and neglect, vast quality-of-life improvements are assured by this adaptive reuse.Given the value of its location, breathtaking views of both Brooklyn and Manhattan and its close proximity to public transportation, the building is being converted into 88 sleek, spacious 1 and 2 bedroom loft-style apartments with cutting edge design and state of the art finishes. All apartments, ranging from 600 sq ft studios and 2000 sq ft penthouses, have high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and large balconies.As a result of this project and others that will soon follow, the area has been transformed into the ideal neighborhood for successful artists and professionals with a taste for urban living, and it provides another link in connecting Brooklyn's downtown neighborhoods.

Grand Street

Project Manager/Designer: Robert M. Scarano jr.

Completion Date: June 2005

Location: Williamsburg

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A modest two story brick factory building converted to apartments under a previous application is expanded to create three modern penthouse units with roof terraces and double height ceilings. Constructing an addition on a previously converted building, (which remained occupied during construction), can be a major inconvenience to the existing occupants if not handled properly. Further, the attachment of the new structure to the old building can be logistically difficult if the integrity of the roof membrane has to be compromised. This project presented these problems because the budget for the work was only $100 per sq. ft.To keep the weight down for the new floor heavy ganged steel joists were used for the structural walls and floors instead of traditional steel skeleton or masonry bearing wall. This not only saves load on the existing structure, but reduces cost as well. A mixture of stucco and metal panel exterior cladding was chosen since they provide lesser pounds per square footage than traditional masonry products.The design acts as a capping to the facade, which prior to the installation was a simple brick exterior. The taller windows framed in metal and inclined, flood the interior with light and contribute to the loft like feel of the apartments. By providing a cap to the elevation, the facade takes on a completed look and appears to have been constructed at one time rather than in phases. The contrast between materials compliment rather than fight each other, creating a façade of interest and distinction.

7th Avenue

Project Manager/Designer: Robert M. Scarano jr.

Completion Date: May 2005

Location: Park Slope

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Keeping this neighborhood strong and vibrant is not only the strong school system, but also the Landmarks of large sections of the neighborhood.This particular building also falls within the Historic District, meaning that all exterior features are protected from change unless a "Certificate of Appropriateness" is issued. The front facade of the building is being maintained (with the exception of the excavation of the front yard) to permit additional light and air to enter the lower level of the basement duplex unit.The rear facade, however, will have the existing one story addition expanded two additional levels and the fenestration altered to permit larger windows to capture the views on the upper levels to Manhattan.The entire interiors will be gutted to allow floor plans to be reconfigured, splitting floors into smaller one bedroom units above the second floor. The incorporation of individual heating and cooling units for each apartment and the modernization of the entire infrastructure ensures the marketability of the units as modern apartments.

Bridge Street

Project Manager/Designer: Eugene Drubestskoy

Completion Date: December 2002

Location: Dumbo, Brooklyn

Visit: http://www.thedevelopersgroup.com

This converted factory building houses 37 loft-style-apartments, commercial gallery spaces, and enclosed parking on six floors. These features are contained within 40.000 square feet, making this a diverse and truly mixed-use development.By stretching the conceptual boundaries of the up and coming DUMBO Community three blocks east, this two story addition of a creation of this vacant factory building provided a platform for buyers to obtain loft-style living at a modest prices. Dubbed the "poor man's lofts", this building sold out all units in four weeks.The juxtaposition of new and old marks a crossroads in development in the area. The addition to the building marries old and new; new interior and exterior bearing walls, supported by the existing brick walls made the project economically feasible.This alteration constructed in strict conformance with the New York City Quality Housing Program. Afforded the residents many amenities not found in other buildings.A distinctive development, which provides both environmental sensitivity through adaptive reuse and energy conservation through creative insulation and ventilation systems, makes this project a success to everyone associated with it.

Penthouse on the Bowery

Project Manager/Designer: Ilana Kushnir

Completion Date: December 2003

Location: Lower East Side-Manhattan

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The Bowery of Manhattan, long since known as Skid Row, is undergoing a transformation into the hip and trendy residential community of the expanded Lower East Side.With the Landmark Commission armed to help the process along, this small stretch of the Bowery has been designated as a place worthy of preservation.This title given shortly after the project was filed, presented a complex issue to everyone involved since the addition could not be looked upon as a disruptive process to the stability of the block.In the final conclusion, it was given approval and with minor changes was allowed to be constructed. Probably what will be the last new work to be executed for the next few years, this eclectic two story additions created the look in bricks and mortar of what is happening by changes in flesh and blood.