Carriage House in Fort Greene from noted architect gets LPC green-light

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A rendering of the proposed house.
Kane Aud via NY Landmarks Preservation Commission

A proposal to restore an 1860s Italianate as well as construct a new, modern home designed by a Pritzker Prize-winning architect in Fort Greene was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday afternoon.

Located at 176 Washington Park, at the corner of Willoughby Avenue across from Fort Greene Park, the plan is to restore the exterior of the existing brownstone and convert it from a three-family into five condos. In addition, the developers want to remove a structurally damaged garage behind the townhouse and erect a modern “carriage house” in its place.

The modern house is designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning, Los Angeles-based architect Thom Mayne. The owner is his son, Sam Alison-Mayne, co-founder of Dumbo-based development firm Tankhouse.

It’s been just over a month since the project first went in front of the commission. In March, some of the commissioners felt the design for the new building needed to be tweaked, adding that it looked “institutional” and resembled “entering a college campus.” No action was taken at the time.

Some Brownstoner commenters weren’t wild about the design. “Very stark and impenetrable,” said one, who identified themselves only as Leeb. “That really does look like a building ruin crossed with a campus arts center,“ said RlyLove.

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The previous proposal on the left, new proposal on the right.

Three major changes were made in response to concerns from commissioners. The street wall has been lowered slightly so it is below the roofline of the building next door. The street-facing facade has been detached from the neighboring building, so there is now a space between them. On the ground level, Corten steel has been changed to sealed steel to prevent issues with rust.

Commissioners were effusive in their praise.

“The rear house, whatever we’re calling this, is just simply fabulous,” said Commissioner Fred Bland. “I’m just so excited we have the ability to have architecture like this in historic districts.” He said it was the best “small piece of architecture” he had been involved with as an LPC commissioner. 

This story first appeared on Brownstoner.