In this episode of Design Vault, Doug speaks with John Woelfling, Principal at Dattner Architects at in New York City.

Visit to see photos and additional information as you listen along.

Located in downtown Brooklyn, 50 Nevins Street appears to be two buildings in one. The approach was to reinvigorate a century-old building through gut renovation and addition, which provides affordable housing, housing for formerly homeless individuals, and mental health services.

The historic site, with its new ten-story addition, features 129 new apartments. The building was originally designed by famed Brooklyn architect Frank Freeman, opened in 1913 as a YWCA. In the early 1930s an extensive portion of the building was shaved off to enlarge Schermerhorn Street and make way for the subway line. That adjustment resulted in an imbalance to the original Colonial Revival building.

The new coupled design ascribes value to the existing building and helps restore the balance it had lost. The existing red brick building remains shorter with a classical cornice. The new building sits slightly taller, flush and adjacent with a recessed connector which visually separates the architecture. The contrast in masonry color, dark connector and stylistic changes to the forms and facades set the two buildings apart esthetically, though clearly they’re co-combined. 

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