The Brooklyn Heights Library site is one of the most prominent locations in the civic and commercial core of Downtown Brooklyn. Situated between the federal courts and large scale commercial office buildings of Cadman Plaza, and the residential townhouse scale of Brooklyn Heights, this mixed-use development will make a major contribution to the public character of one of Downtown Brooklyn’s most prominent urban gateways. This development will result in a building formed under zoning guidelines that favor visual cohesion to the surrounding neighborhood, reflecting the scale and tradition of Brooklyn Heights as well as the vital spirit of contemporary architectural design.
The building design optimizes the opportunity to create a contemporary 21st century library for the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood by carrying out the Brooklyn Public Library’s vision: to be a “vital center of knowledge for all,” to be a “leader in traditional and innovative library services,” and to “reflect the diverse and dynamic spirit of the people of Brooklyn.” Specifically, the building design will maximize the library’s street frontage with expansive glass windows that promote the activities of the patrons inside, as well as connecting the activities to a vibrant urban street life. Most mixed use developments with cultural programs minimize street frontage, but we recognize how important street presence is to the library’s success. By presenting a vibrant and populated community center, the quality of life for residents will be enhanced and customers will be drawn to the commercial space as well.
Constructed with masonry and precast details, the base of the building will feel robust and stalwart, to identify with the Library’s civic role in the neighborhood. At the same time, a composite pattern of deep mullions, large storefront windows, glazing panels and metal shading will offer a range of color, texture and shadow. Window panels will be graduated between clear and solar efficient tinted glass according to sun accessibility. In the residential tower, operable windows will allow tenants to determine their own temperature and fresh air comfort levels while reducing loads on the mechanical ventilation system. Horizontal bands of glass, masonry, and metal grilles will give the tower a contemporary impression, while continuous railings at balconies and terraces will extend the stacked character of the floors towards the outer edges of the tower.
CLIENT: The DeMatteis Organization / NYC EDC
SIZE: 144,900 square feet Residential;
20,000 square feet Library;
34,000 square feet Commercial, Building Service and Parking