90,000 square feet
13 stories, 82 units
Brooklyn, New York
This mid-rise building was designed to attract residents who want to embrace everything Williamsburg has to offer, from the landscape of old warehouses and factories to contemporary boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. But it also contributes something new to the area: an architectural scale that rivals the nearby infrastructure while respecting Brooklyn’s history and built fabric.
Located on the site of a former baked goods manufacturer in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the Williams apartment building is surrounded by the BQE, the Marcy Avenue J/M/Z elevated subway line, and the Williamsburg Bridge. While close proximity to the subway is almost always desirable in New York City real estate, here, the intersection of transit infrastructure isolated the eclectic block of warehouses and brownstones and may have contributed to a slower rate of residential development than elsewhere in the otherwise rapidly growing Williamsburg area. The site, therefore, required a contemporary building that balanced the grand scale of the roadways and railways with the smaller brick townhouses and warehouses that are integral to the character of the neighborhood.
The new building consists of two distinct elements, both clad in dark gray brick: a two-story plinth and an 11-story tower. The plinth resembles a repurposed warehouse but is, in fact, a new structure designed to evoke the industrial architecture that attracts many residents to Williamsburg. The warehouse-like massing and fenestration relate to the immediate context and scale of the street, while the ground-floor retail and community spaces encourage new pedestrian activity. The tower, wrapped in a brick grid that articulates three-story bays, rises from the center of the plinth’s landscaped roof. The bays are defined by deep metal frames and subdivided by alternating metal spandrels and operable, factory-style windows.
The 11-story tower is pulled back from all four edges of the plinth, which reduces its perceived height from street level as well as the din from automotive and train traffic. A 26,000-square-foot landscaped roof terrace atop the base offers garden plots, generous green spaces, a dog run, and an outdoor cinema, among other amenities.
The building’s lobby, which is finished primarily in dark wood and tile, a palette that resonates with its exterior, includes a feature wall of dark green copper panels salvaged from the bakery that originally occupied the site. The dark wood motif continues throughout the Williams’ public spaces, including the main residential lounge.