253 Pacific Street is a newly constructed building in Brooklyn, New York, containing three duplex residences. While the building’s construction, style, and materials – including zinc, wood, and exposed concrete – are unapologetically modern, James Cleary Architecture’s initial ideas for the building were inspired by Brooklyn’s historic brownstones, whose high ceilings, thoughtful apartment layouts, and great depth in the details of their facades, all influenced the building’s design.
Inside and out, the building mixes high and low to unexpected effect. Outside, wood clads the exterior of the entire first floor, while on the upper floors, raw concrete piers bracket standing seam zinc cladding. Custom fabricated wood and steel planter boxes frame each window on the upper stories, shading windows from summer sun, adding a touch of green to the streetscape, and creating rich shadows that play across the building throughout the day.
Inside, each apartment features exposed concrete ceilings and walls, walnut flooring, wood burning fireplaces, private outdoor space, and large windows that allow sunlight deep into the building. Each unit’s kitchen and staircase are designed as an intertwined pair. The kitchens combine smooth lacquered cabinets with rough blackened steel, while the wood and concrete stairs sweep past freestanding floor to ceiling millwork, creating unique cross views through each apartment, and opportunities for kids to perch on the stair, or tuck themselves underneath it, as mom or dad make breakfast.
From the highly efficient building envelope, equipment, lighting and plumbing fixtures, to the use of recycled materials wherever possible, 253 Pacific has a minimal environmental footprint designed to reduce energy use by at least 35% compared to standard construction. The project aims for LEED gold rating, pending testing and certification.
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images © James Cleary Architecture