Internationally renowned architect Enrique Norten is transforming an unassuming Park Slope block with a striking condominium building, but the high-minded design gets only modest marks from people more accustomed to the neighborhood’s normal bricks and brownstone.
The Mexican architect, commissioned to build a 17-unit building on Carroll Street, said his design is rooted in local history and a bridge between workmanlike Gowanus and tony Park Slope.
“As the site of a former glass factory, the character of the building is very much a new typology that is a bridge between the more industrial Gowanus neighborhood to the East and the heart of Pork Slope’s Brownstone Brooklyn to the West,” Norten’s firm, TEN Arquitectos, said in a straightforward statement.
But at the construction site between Fourth and Fifth avenues, many neighbors balked when The Brooklyn Paper showed renderings of the four-story white complex accentuated by vertical lines in the façade. The project also includes a landscaped garden in the front yard.
“I’m more of a traditionalist,” said Kahir Singh, a Park Slope resident. “It’s different, but as long as it’s not too tall, I don’t care, as long as you can still the see the sky and trees.”
Another observer said it was more iconoclastic than iconic.
“It’s a whole new neighborhood, it’s not like it used to be,” said Frank Borelli, who works in the Slope.
But there were some voices appreciated the non-conformist appearance.
“I like different things, it doesn’t have to be uniformed,” said Nirva Dor, a Flatbush resident who was just passing through.
In spite of the strong opinions, this project has a much lower profile than Norten’s design for a glass-enclosed centerpiece of the BAM Cultural District that was originally supposed to include luxury housing and a performing arts branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. That project, led by Two Trees Management, has faltered because of fundraising hardships at the library.
Norten said he is still working on the retooled assignment, which is now largely condos with a smaller, neighborhood library.
— with Dustin Seplow