Adaptive Reuse


Project Manager/Designer: Robert M. Scarano jr.

Completion Date: November 2002

Location: Williamsburg


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.