Described by OMA partner Jason Long as “a ziggurat and its inverse,” the firm’s New York office today unveiled designs for two residential towers in Brooklyn. They are the latest in a series of bold designs transforming Brooklyn’s waterfront north of the Williamsburg Bridge across the East River from Manhattan that include the controversial redevelopment of the erstwhile Domino Sugar Factory.
Developed by Brookfield Properties and Park Tower Group, OMA’s 300- and 400-foot-tall buildings, in conjunction with a seven-story podium structure containing retail and building amenities, will bring 745 units of housing—30 percent of which will be affordable—and more than an acre of new public open space to the edge of its Greenpoint neighborhood, formerly home to low warehouses, rope factories, and parking lots.
“The two towers are designed around the relationship between them,” says Long. The towers simultaneously lean into and away from one another. The taller one widens toward the east as it rises, maximizing views and creating a dramatic face to the neighborhood with individual cantilevers of 24 feet that cumulatively extend out as much as 48 feet. The partner building steps back from the waterfront to create a series of large terraces, widening toward the ground and the new waterfront park to the north. The language of stacking volumes that step out recall earlier OMA projects, both built and unbuilt. “In this case,” says Long, “It allows the blocks to read as seven- or eight-story volumes instead of 30 stories.”
The towers’ facades feature shingled, pre-cast concrete panels surrounding large 8-foot by 8-foot windows. Like the buildings’ forms, the precast panels are variously carved by a series of angled planes that differentiate the vertical blocks, but also animate the 415-foot-long stretch of building at ground level.
The Greenpoint project is OMA’s first in Brooklyn, and is the latest in a series of residential buildings the New York office has designed recently, several of which—Park Grove in Miami, Transbay Block 8 in San Francisco, and 121 East 22nd Street in Manhattan—are finishing up this year. The Brooklyn project is designed in collaboration with Beyer Blinder Belle (executive erchitect), Marmol Radziner (interior design/building landscape) and James Corner Field Operations (waterfront landscape). Construction is expected to begin this summer.