This 1889 two family Brownstone was fully gut renovated to become a Certified Passive House. Construction began in the Spring of 2017 and was completed in Fall of 2018.
The building has been structurally reinforced and leveled at each floor. New plumbing, electrical and required ventilation has been planned to run in a central spine on the interior of the building, where it branches out toward the perimeter at each floor, and minimizes penetrations in the air tight membrane. Gas has been entirely capped, and the electrical heating and cooling system is kept minimal due to the significantly added insulation and exterior shading. Solar panels by Brooklyn Solar offset the electrical load the building requires to run.
New Optiwin windows from Austria are triple glazed and gasketed. White Oak flooring by Madera is laid in a herringbone on the parlor level, and along with the restored original wooden mantels, details and moldings, evokes a time when this floor was the most elaborate in the house. Maple plywood surrounds at door openings and windows offset the 1900’s details to add a modern but warm flavor, and the custom kitchen fronts by Reform lend the space a dash of color that is repeated in select spots throughout.
MEP Engineer: ABS Engineering
General Contractor: LB General Contracting Corp.
2019 NYCxDESIGN Awards Winner in the Kitchen & Bath Category
Passive House is a German Building standard that was developed in the late 80’s, early 90’s, which - when implemented on a new building or retrofit - is able to reduce heating and cooling energy usage of a building by 80-90%. Passive Houses have a high performance envelope: with triple glazed and gasketed windows, a significant amount of insulation (about double code minimum), and an air impermeable membrane which all produces their ability to retain solar heat gain, body heat or cooking from their inhabitants to become the main heat sources throughout the winters. This in turn means that their active heating system is shrunk down to a very minuscule size. Similarly, as long as exterior shading is added to facades for hotter summer months, the interiors can retain their cool during the summer, allowing only supplementary AC to be required in small amounts.
Upfront construction costs are slightly more - on average, about 2%-4% more to meet the Passive Building Standard, and these are constantly sinking, as more PH building materials and systems become available here in the US. The above moves however render Passive House buildings resilient to increasing energy prices, and the risks posed by the change of fossil fuel availability alongside unstable international energy markets. They are also easily able to reach Net Zero with the use of renewable resources such as solar. This makes them easier and cheaper to maintain over many decades to come. Aside from meeting city and global goals that impact climate change, the result of a PH is on the bottom line for the building owner. Passive Houses represent the lowest cost of ownership, both from a maintenance standpoint, and due to the incredible savings on energy, representing a significant ROI for buildings that are held longer term.
In addition to being incredibly forward thinking in regard to energy usage, carbon emissions and therefore “green” building, the livability of Passive housing is second to none. With their high performance thermal windows and additional insulation, they are extremely quiet, creating an internal feeling of serenity and calm even on a busy NY Street. Because of their tightly air sealed envelope, they require a constantly running ventilation system that both filters and heat exchanges the air, such that without the need to open windows, no room ever feels stuffy. There is no draft from exterior facades, and because of the added insulation, window sills become deep and an ideal place to sit in even the coldest exterior temperatures. All this mean that the building sets itself apart not just because of it energy savings, but its quality of living.
Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies – from single-family homes to multifamily apartment buildings, offices, and skyscrapers.
This thirteen foot wide, wood framed building originally erected around 1905 is in the process of being enlarged with the addition of a small pop-up, and gut renovated as a Certified Passive House.
Significant structural work will be performed to level and re-inforce the existing structure, whilst adding new footings and a secondary bearing line to independently support the new floor.
New triple glazed windows by Klearwall, and a Sho Sugi Ban rain screen at the addition give the building an externally black and white look, though the interior will be textured and colorful.
Construction is estimated to take one year and will be completed in Winter 2018.
MEP Engineer: ABS Engineering
Structural Engineer: ADOF Engineers
General Contractor: M Square Builders
An existing, approximately 17,000 SF metal foundry, is being renovated for a new use. The buildings existing heavy timber classification is being upheld and a new CLT floor structure with glulam columns and girders will replace existing joists and subfloor. All existing windows, skylights and clerestory are being replaced or restored, and two new skylights added to maximize natural light in all spaces. Insulation is added to the exterior at both walls and roof to expose existing brick walls, heavy timber trusses and roof joists.
The project began construction in January 2019 and is expected to open January 2020.
This beautiful old barn, which sits on the property of a colonial dating back to the late 1700's, will be renovated to become a guest house meeting Passive House standards. With an open kitchen and living room on the upper floor, and a bedroom with ensuite bathroom on the lower floor, the house is the perfect size for two. Currently in design, the construction is slated to begin in the Summer 2018.
40,000 SF ground up new construction for six luxury condominiums in the heart of Tribeca. Design features include masonry construction with a highly-articulated brick facade, full-floor living with direct elevator entry, generous room proportions, master suites with separate dressing rooms and spa baths, and an attended lobby.
Completed while at Flank Architecture
Adaptive reuse refers to the process of reusing an old site or building for a purpose other than which it was built or designed for. Along with brownfield reclamation, adaptive reuse is seen by many as a key factor in land conservation and the reduction of urban sprawl.
This 11,000 SF 1950’s bank building in Lynbrook, New York was gut renovated to be used by a Swiss freight logistics company as their Long Island hub, merging three formerly separate companies into a new collective. The full floor layout provides four private offices, a conference room and a large open office. The renovation includes all new windows, a new HVAC system and a new steel and travertine staircase, which re-connects to a mezzanine level that previously only had a connection to the ground floor, now accommodating a break room and kitchenette. The high vaulted ceilings of the original building were restored, and the existing structure is left exposed at specific moments. Finishes are kept light to maximize light in all spaces of this deep floor plate, whilst playing with gradients from warm to grey in both the palette of the flooring and acoustic ceiling treatment.
Construction was completed in Summer 2018.
Finished Photos by Peter Dressel
MEP Engineer: ABS Engineering
Structural Engineer: ADOF Engineers
General Contractor: Aerial Design and Build
Current linear design practices have lead to a global epidemic of waste production, making the construction industry the second largest producer of solid waste in the world. Circular Design - in contrast to Linear Design - imagines a holistic process of design and evaluation that values materials which are suited for repeated re-use, with everything that is created returning to being regenerative and restorative.
Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), an engineered mass timber system developed in Europe, is an ideal material for use in Circular Design. Designed as an alternative to the structural use of concrete, masonry and steel in construction, it is known for its strength, appearance, versatility and sustainability. In addition to being a lightweight product, CLT is also fast and easy to install, generating almost no waste onsite, with a reduced carbon footprint and landfill contribution compared to traditional materials.
Asked to provide interior design and furniture planning for the public spaces of a new 170 unit condominium development in Prospect Lefferts Garden by The Hudson Companies with the base building designed by Jonathan Kirschenfeld Architect, we explored ways to bring the park into the building, which is located three blocks east of Prospect Park.
A green and grey tile mosaic blurs the edge between wall and floor and creates a color splash at the rear of the lobby that draws you in when you enter the building and guides you towards the mailroom and elevator core. The green is expressed on each floor in the elevator lobby as you travel up the eight stories, and again in the public lounge, situated on the eighth floor.
Apart from the tile mosaic, the spaces are left sparse and simple, with modern furniture that warms up the spaces with the introduction of walnut wood elements.
The building was completed in the Summer of 2018. You can read more about it here.
Finished Photographs by Peter Dressel.
Asked by Company XIV to explore increasing the square footage of their existing theatre, we came up with three distinct options. The addition in all cases includes adding a bar, an in-house costume shop and the potential for a larger lobby space, but in all three options the relationship between these program elements and the theatre varies.
The first and smallest option plays with the proximity of costume shop and bar. It considers a visitor to the theatre bar getting a glimpse into the makings of some of the intricate costumes the company makes for their shows - providing a very singular experience of a look behind theatre scenes.
The second option offers the opportunity to actually travel through the theatre as a bar visitor - thereby possibly getting a glimpse of the ongoing show while climbing the staircase to the bar above, and enticing them to return and see one of Company XIV's amazing shows. In this option the costume shop is located on a mezzanine within the double-height space of the bar, allowing a different behind the scenes glance to bar visitors.
The third and largest option increases part of the already high existing ceiling of 17' by another 19' and inserts the bar to overlook the theatre on its whole back wall. Bar guests can spy on the ongoing show from their high vantage point, allowing for a very unique experience. A mezzanine is incorporated which allows even more theatre seating on a higher level, whilst allowing the floor area of the theatre to be maximized.
Four units in this existing six unit tenement building in Ridgewood were gut renovated to create three bedroom apartments that are intended to be used by room-mates. The bedrooms are relatively small, but each has ample storage space and natural light. We’ve created a central kitchen space that has all the amenities such as dishwasher, washer / dryer, and plenty of cabinetry and counter space. By reclaiming some public hallway space for the apartments, we opened up this inner space and designed an integrated kitchen and shared living room, with the aim of creating a social space at the center of each apartment. The existing interior shaft of the building allows ample natural light to filter into these central spaces, and our focus on light finishes helps to create very inviting and bright rooms. There is one shared bathroom that has a lot of storage space as well and it too gets natural light from a small window. We endeavored to keep as many of the building’s beautiful original details such as the public stair railing and select existing door moldings, and exposed brickwork at the party walls to introduce texture into an otherwise very clean and modern design.
The public hallways too - formerly all dark brown finishes and gloomy lighting - were given a facelift, with a focus on brightening the space whilst keeping it easy to maintain and durable. The cellar was renovated to include storage spaces for each apartment and bicycle storage. The original old wood door at the building’s main entry was painted blue.
Construction began in August and was completed in December 2016.
Photos of the finished building by Peter Dressel.
In 2013 we were given the task to develop an investment plan for a ten unit apartment building in the fifteenth district of Vienna. Making it not only more energy efficient, but also increasing livability for its renters were goals of our client. Given that the north of this building faces a street with few trees and relatively high vehicular traffic, we initially explored various ways by which to green its facade. The rear of the building has a beautiful southern exposure for which we proposed adding large (approx. 75 - 100 sf) balconies to each of the apartments, which both shade the apartments from direct heat-gain in the ever hotter summers in Vienna, and increase the living space for the units. The balconies are constructed of exposed pre-cast concrete panels, with galvanized steel railings. New triple-glazed windows with black frames as well as the painting of original building details and a contrasting white facade gave the building a new, fresh look, highlighting its 1930's flair, whilst upgrading its energy efficiency along with added insulation on both exposed facades and a new roof. We developed a new color-palette for the public hallways and re-conceived both the interior and exterior public lighting. We worked with local architects AAP Architekten who assisted us with the securing of permits as well as construction administration on site.
The addition and renovation were completed in December 2015.
Full gut renovation and spatial re-conception of an existing three family railroad apartment building. Design included reconfiguration of plumbing and upgrading electrical, new acoustically isolated ceilings between units, new oak flooring throughout, new windows and thermal insulation along exterior envelope. Creative implementation of fixtures and finishes throughout all three units, mixing original character of the building while providing functionality and a clean updated aesthetic. Construction began in December of 2014 and was completed in August 2015. Photographs of finished units by Peter Dressel Photography.
This approx. 675 square foot, corner apartment was gut renovated, and changed from being a one bedroom to a two bedroom unit. We exposed the existing brick wall, and opened up the kitchen to the living space. A custom sliding counter, made from a re-claimed bowling alley floor, provides flexibility between a larger kitchen and a big table for dinner parties. New York City apple boxes contribute a playful and budget conscious approach to upper cabinets. Custom copper piping fixtures deliver the water in the kitchen and the bath, exposing some of the plumbing elements that are normally hidden from view.
Construction finished in February 2014
Photos of finished space by Peter Dressel.
Ridgewood is a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, with a building stock of typical New York railroad apartments. Each has a interior light shaft, which gives light to the interior public spaces such as kitchen and living room in the reconfiguration and renovation of units in this building - allowing the rear and back to be used for bedrooms. The need to traverse through one bedroom to reach another is thereby removed. Finishes are kept bright to maximize light reflection, and because these are rentals, the focus is on design that is both budget conscious and durable whilst creating spaces and amenities that set the apartment apart.
Photos by Peter Dressel
Coclico's shoes are made from natural materials and have warm, earthy tones with bright colors providing the occasional highlight. Our black and white re-design for the store allows the shoes to become the center of attention by providing a clean and simple backdrop for their display. Undulating white shelves wrap the perimeter of the store and branch from a central bench, while the black refinished bamboo floor grounds the desaturated store. The shoes become the colored pigment in an otherwise colorless landscape. The cantilevered bench is fabricated from a large steel plate with a black wax finish, highlighting its construction along the top and edge, mirroring the color of the floor. The cashiers counter too, is a juxtaposition of black and white, though it sets itself apart from the shelves by its shiny white finish. The expansive cantilevers of the long shelves, reaching out from the wall up to two feet, are braced internally with an intricate steel outrigger system nested behind the refinished walls. The play of asymmetry throughout the store allows for the geometry to carry the shoes at different levels, providing a varied and compelling means of display for Coclico's beautiful shoes.
This existing physical therapy center moved to a new location around the corner from its previous one and asked us to create an energetic and light design for their new space. Color highlights the different uses and accent changes in energy levels - reception, equipment room and treatment rooms, which are open and connected. Suspended LED lighting maximizes the ceiling height while the colorful conduit runs help emphasize the different programmatic areas. Whole wall and half wall decals add life to the space while providing a more resistant surface under a datum line. The flooring is a three-toned speckled recycled rubber tile that is wear resistant and, along with some custom wooden elements, give the space warmth.
Construction finished in December 2013.
Tree designs adapted from a design by Lara Schlunderberg
Photos of finished space by Peter Dressel.