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Design News -June 2008

Architect Inspired By High Line History

A new residential development designed along the elevated railway. Also, tenant expands at Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Luxe Homes Designed With Eye Toward Rail Line’s Past

In the line up for residential buildings along the High Line—the elevated rail way under reconstruction consideration on New York City’s west side—is HL23 on West 23rd Street and 10th Avenue.

“We are honored to be able to bring a building like HL23 to New York City and West Chelsea,” said developer Alf Naman of 23 High Line Development. “It is fitting that a building like HL23 would become part of the transformation of Manhattan’s far West Side, which is now evolving into a treasury of great architecture and design that should ultimately be to New York what Michigan Avenue is to Chicago.”

The building, designed by Architect Neil Denari, will contain 11 residences within 14 stories on a 40-ft-wide plot. Nine will be full-floor homes, a duplex penthouse with terraces will also be built and a two-floor maisonette with a private garden at the building’s base will be included. The homes will range in size from 1,850 to 3,600 sq ft and in price from $2.65 to $10.5 million.

The architects, in collaboration with New York City-based façade consultants Front Inc., spent two years working on the design of HL23. What followed was a concrete and steel frame structure with diagonal perimeter bracing featuring spandrel-free north and south curtain walls. The façade window panels are low-iron and colorless, measuring over 11 ft high by 6 ft wide. The building’s east façade will have three-dimensional curving stainless steel panels, each 11.6 ft wide, creating a light-reflecting, pattern-inducing skin for the building.

“The purity of expression is also a tribute to the honesty of the High Line, with its exposed rivets and articulated beams on display,” said Denari. “We wanted to make new architecture that honors the old in certain ways, but that stands as an elevated world, integrated with the High Line in a new way.”

The building’s interior features include large entry foyers off a private elevator, rift cut solid oak floors with two layers of sub-floor for sound insulation and eat-in kitchens. Master bathrooms throughout the building have glass-enclosed wet rooms. Levels 11, 12, and the duplex penthouse have wood-burning fireplaces and both of the building’s duplexes have outdoor space.

New York-based interior architect Thomas Juul-Hansen, took inspiration from the Chelsea area when considering the design. “We have designed the homes within HL23 to maximize the qualities of sensuality and calm, to choose materials that cosset residents and sculpt space that orients them to the spectacular presence of the park outside their windows,” he explained.

HL23 is also applying for LEED Gold Certification. Green features will include a power grid to supply 100% of the building’s energy needs for two years, eco-efficient water fixtures and appliances, ventilation to maintain high air quality, use of natural light and a recycling program. In regard to construction, high reflective roofing products will be used, efficient mechanical systems will be installed and a construction waste management program will be implemented.

T.G. Nickel & Associates of New York began construction on the 27,500-sq-ft building in March 2008 and it is slated for completion in the spring of 2009.

Development Progresses at Navy Yard

SurroundArt, a museum resource company located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, has retained Steven Kratchman Architect to expand its facilities.

The project involves three buildings: an adaptive reuse, an existing building expansion and new building construction.

The historic Paymaster Building—where employees of the Brooklyn Navy Yard collected paychecks—will be renovated to accommodate SurroundArt’s new corporate headquarters. Adaptive reuse plans include removing the existing ceilings, exposing trusses and brick walls as well as eliminating some floors to create two- and three-story spaces, explained Kratchman.

“The focus will be on preserving the exterior and keeping the ornate front doors and entryway,” he said, since the building is also the gateway to the entire Navy Yard.

The existing building expansion will be a 71,000-sq-ft space within The Navy Yard’s Building Three, which SurroundArt will use for art storage.

Construction on the Paymaster building and the storage expansion are expected to begin in the second quarter of this year. Both are being sustainably constructed.

TDX Construction Corp. of New York broke ground on the new construction portion—an 89,000-sq-ft building on Perry Avenue—in November 2006 and it is nearing completion.

Although the buildings are separated, “we’ve created a master plan for SurroundArt,” said Kratchman. “We will be designing signage, passageways and lighting which will connect the buildings together.”

Stantec, the base building architects, had originally designed the Perry Avenue building for owner Brooklyn Navy Yards when SurroundArt was not a tenant. Steven Kratchman Architects has now been retained for the fit out.

Even with two architectural teams involved, the plans are coordinated to ensure proper building design. “Stantec understands they designed it without a tenant and now that there is one, some of the things just don’t work for SurroundArt,” explained Kratchman. “We are working with Stantec carefully, as to not undo something ingenious they’ve already done.”

The Brooklyn Navy Yards project in general has been marketed as a green undertaking. SurroundArt’s three buildings are not exceptions. “Renovating an existing building is a green feature in itself because you are giving it a new life,” said Kratchman, who will design the buildings using recycled materials and high-efficiency lighting and to include bicycle storage.

The Perry Avenue building in particular will be LEED core and shell certified—which is similar to new building LEED certification but excludes elements involved with tenant use, explained Joe Donovan, principal at Stantec. “During design and most of construction, we didn’t know who was going to occupy the building, and we controlled everything we could control at the time” he said. “We took a number of measures to ensure it was as sustainable as possible.”

The green features include: pervious pavements, low-flow water fixtures, stormwater recapture systems, high-albedo roof and concrete, envelope design with high insulating value, high-efficiency light fixtures, gas-fired heating system, natural ventilation and day lighting and wind turbans on the roof to provide renewable energy. Stantec also required contractors to purchase construction materials with only high recycled content. Stantec also developed a construction waste control system for the project—whatever could be recycled, was.

A green clean program—where regular cleaning is done with green products—will also be utilized. “Not only sustainable construction is important,” said Donovan. “Really, the maintenance [of the building] will have a major impact on a sustainable environment as well.”


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