Adaptive Reuse

The Silos at Carroll Gardens

Project Manager/Designer: Tamar Kisilevitz

Completion Date: 2001

Location: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn


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.

Clermont Avenue

Project Manager/Designer: Robert M. Scarano jr.

Completion Date: June 2001

Location: Clinton Hill


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.