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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

B12 & B13 design reflects brick and masonry, with one shared lobby (?) and underground connection

This is the fourth of ten articles on the 11/19/19 Quality of Life meeting, which focused on the new B12 and B13 towers. The first concerned plans to finally move forward with Site 5. The second concerned the timing of the platform over the railyard. The third concerned the single parking garage entrance on the block. The fifth concerned open space plans on that southeast block. The sixth concerned B4, Times Plaza, and the railyard. The seventh concerned art on the Dean Street construction fence. The eighth concerned recent traffic chaos around Disney on Ice. The ninth concerned the Pacific Park Conservancy. The tenth concerned the Pacific Park Owners Association.

Hovercraft perspective also ignores railyard towers in rear
They probably won't win architectural awards, the designs for the paired B12 (615 Dean) and B13 (595 Dean) unveiled this week, by Handel Architects and developer TF Cornerstone.

But the towers, with 798 units, do take some cues from the surrounding Prospect Heights neighborhood, as well as from the bookend B11 (550 Vanderbilt) and B124 (535 Carlton) towers, echoing some brick and masonry.

"Thank you for not building a big glass building," Prospect Heights resident Robert Puca said at the meeting.

That probably wasn't on the table. Then again,  the original 2015 plan for B12, by KPF, was more modern and streamlined, without the level of window articulation. 

That said, the renderings released were flattering. For one thing, the image above--which was the main one distributed to (or used by) Curbed, 6sqft, and New York YIMBY--somehow omits the much larger towers planned for the railyard block in the rear. 

B12 would rise 287 feet and B13 241 feet, according to a state document, plus some significant boxes for mechanicals. But on the horizon between them should be the 419-foot B9 (see image below), which was omitted.

Also flattering were the open space images, two of which were reproduced by the above-mentioned web sites, and which I'll address in a separate article.

Looking at the design

The main presentation was by Handel Architects partner Frank Fusaro, whose projects include the adaptive reuse of the Annex to the National Maritime Union into the Dream Downtown Hotel in West Chelsea, and the 170 Amsterdam Avenue residential tower.

In the audience, but not speaking was Associate Principal Honyi Wang, who is the Project Manager for the two towers, and previously served as Project Manager for Hoyt & Horn, a new 368-unit residential building in Downtown Brooklyn for Rose Associates.

The buildings are sited, Fusaro said, to reinforce the connection between the buildings on the south side of the main open space, and the buildings on the north side, slated to be built over platform on the Vanderbilt Yard.

As shown in the slide at right, they took cues from several buildings in the neighborhood, including windows, cornices, and banding--as well as the existing B11, which has a brown brick and light-colored masonry, and B14, which relies significantly on red brick.

Issues of scale

According to the project's Design Guidelines, the maximum base height at the street wall is. for B12, 95 feet to 105 feet and, for B13, 86 feet to 100 feet.

B13 will have a 9-floor base, with 212 apartments, and then a 19-floor tower, with 207 units. Total: 28 floors and 419 units. B12 will have an 8-floor base, with 175 units, and a 15-floor tower, with 204 units. Total: 23 floors and 379 units.

At least 25% of the 798 apartments will be affordable. The levels of affordability have not been specified; there are three options under the Affordable New York program, some with more low-income units than others.

Each tower should contain about 327,000 square feet of residential and ground-level retail space. The far larger amount of zoning square feet disclosed in a building permit, said Tobi Jaiyesimi of Empire State Development, reflects parking, back-of-house space, mechanicals, and more.

Looking to the center

The towers' coloration, Fusaro said, was meant to put the emphasis on the central "gateway" to the open space. The below slide cuts off most of the towers.

The B13 tower will be set back about 60 feet from the street-facing building below, while the B12 tower will be about 75 feet back, which is more visible in the slide below, regarding varying facade treatments. Fusaro cited four or five unique fenestration patterns.
Tower connections

It's not quite clear how the buildings' lobbies will work.

As indicated in the slide below, the B13 tower will contain a large residential lobby, extending to the back of the building, not far from B12. Given the greenery directly around it, it's unclear whether there will be a back entrance. But no B12 lobby is indicated on that slide.

However, in the screenshot above right, it looks like the B13 lobby will be connected, via a gallery, to some force of lobby space in B12.

Puca asked about traffic created by move-ins. Fusaro said an interior loading dock in the Back of House space, will be used for move-ins, as well as sanitation pick-ups. An elevator will also allow connection to link both buildings, which is apparently the gallery in the small image above.

No B12 lobby is indicated in the image below.

On the roof

On top of both buildings, they will use photovoltaic panels on the large boxes houses the mechanicals, cooling towers, generator and elevator. It's unclear how much energy is expected to be generated, but it seems more like a demonstration project.