LAURA CARTER

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WILLIAMSBURG VERNACULAR

MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT                                             BROOKLYN, NY

The Brooklyn, NY neighborhood of Williamsburg has historically been the home of the loud, noxious, dirty industrial and manufacturing facilities too undesirable for Manhattan but too vital to send farther away.  A residential prescence grew around and in between the factories, carving warm spaces into an otherwise cold environment.  Over the years, as the factories have been replaced by shiny, open-plan condos and the grime replaced by the art of the hipster generation, the residential atmosphere is quickly losing its character.  This proposal for a mixed-use development intends to meet the practical demands of modern real estate while maintaining the aesthetic and functional vernacularisms of its ad-hoc predecessors.  The highest reverence was given to the autonomy of the home environment.  Units fit together like 3dimensional puzzle pieces to give each apartment both “front” and “back” views and to create interiors that maximize privacy, individuality and diversity of space.  Units are designed for families, with either 3 or 5 bedrooms in 1200 and 1600sf, respectively. 

Vinyl and shingle siding is diverted is repurposed from delapidated neighborhood housing for cladding, standard roll-up metal security doors are re-envisioned as a permanent retail facade system, and the historical standby brick houses a sturdy manufacturing facility base for the development.  While paying homage to the past, the development also keeps the future in mind with several “green” features: private rooftop farming plots encourage healthy eating, socialization and help reduce heat islands; abundant bike racks (and no car parking) and stairs encourage active lifestyles; cladding, flooring and other materials are second-hand wherever possible; and a large, semi-private bioswale runs through the center of the site, creating a vegetated “alley” that serves functional, environmental and recreational purposes.

 

Fall 2009, Prof. Jim Garrison

 

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