Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Architect presents B3 tower, another high-rise aiming to blend into local fabric

This is among multiple articles covering issues raised at the March 15 Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) meeting.

So, what will the B3 tower, aka 38 Sixth Avenue, look like? (Remember, Freddy's Bar & Backroom was once at that corner of Dean Street and Sixth Avenue.)

Though the 23-story, 219-foot, 303-unit building at the southeast corner of the arena block launched months ago, developer Greenland Forest City Partners had not--unlike with all other buildings under construction--shown the public a presentation.

That changed at the 3/15/16 Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) meeting, where Taek Kim of SHoP Architects (who by the way worked 2006-11 for Gehry Partners) described the building, in a presentation reproduced at bottom (and originally here).

It has 100% affordable housing, though not so affordable, given that 65% of the units are for middle-income households earning six figures. And it also has an oft-promoted (though not so much by the architect) promised health care center.

The main takeaway is that they're using materials and "articulation" to try to break down the scale of a building far larger than the four-story buildings across the street. It's not so easy to tell from the renderings that minimize the building's scale.

Kim spoke for about 11 minutes beginning at 1:14:40 in the video, following up a presentation by KPF architect Josh Chaiken about the B12 tower on the southeast block of the site.

Perhaps because it was late in a late-starting meeting, and that issues of project impacts and a new office tower occupied the board and commenters, but no one had any questions for either architect.

The big picture

Kim noted a contrasting context from B12, since "we don't have a park to back against." As with other buildings, Kim said, the architects aim to break down the scale of these building.

"We have a sense of responsibility to break it down so it's actually blending better into the underlying city fabric of Brooklyn," said Kim, suggesting that the building takes some cues from the architecture nearby.

Another tactic is to articulate the massing with overhangs, setbacks, and different textures/colors, so there's not one wall.

Kim suggested B3 is something of a fraternal twin with the modular B2, also designed by SHoP, but instead of that building's reliance on metal frames this is built with more traditional reinforced concrete.

Not just housing

As with B2, there will be retail at the base, one with 2,000 square feet, another with 6,000 square feet, and the ground floor entrance on Sixth Avenue for a "nonemergency health care facility," which will rise several stories in the back of the building.

Though the building backs into the Barclays Center, "we manage to have windows and fenestration all throughout," Kim said. On the 16th floor, a tenant lounge connects to the exterior terrace.

As noted in the slide above, that terrace overlooks Dean Street and points to the lower-rise zones of Prospect Heights and then Park Slope. Would that qualify as "lording over it"?

As with other buildings, the materials used aim to evoke the borough's industrial past, as well as working with local designers to celebrate raw materials. (Unmentioned: reclaimed industrial buildings converted--or waiting for conversion--to housing were demolished for the project.)

The interior of the apartment is "very light in tone," Kim said, with "about 40% glazed living spaces... We've carefully chosen material that sort of has an industrial aesthetic."

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