The objective of this housing scheme was to propose a great variety of affordable apartment units in a vivid urban environment and to improve the quality of the public street space along 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.
The given corner site is occupied by one large building, which is formulated as a "bookend" to the city block. The term refers to both its form and program.
In terms of form, the building extends the existing figuration of the low-rise family homes of the side-streets onto the given cornersite. Two low wings on 12th street and 13th street fold up into a multi-story slab that faces 4th avenue. Instead of a conventional setback in the upper parts of the building, a large opening is cut into the lower half of the street-wall. It opens the interior gardens of the block to the avenue. In terms of program, the project reinterprets existing forms of urban life in this area of Brooklyn, which are typically the following: 2-and 3-storied townhouses with front-and back gardens line the side streets. Multi-storied tenement buildings with retail-and community functions on their ground floor face the avenue. These existing typologies of residential and civic program are transformed according to the needs of contemporary city life. They are assembled architecturally into one urban compound that frames a civic space.
GEORG WINDECK Assistant Professor, Adjunct Faculty