Office and Specialized STEAM High School
Two Trees Management
Office: 230,500 GSF
Retail: 10,000 GSF
School: 62,000 GSF
Situated in an industrial zone along the Gowanus canal in Brooklyn, this project is ideally positioned to respond to changes in 21st century urban life: a new pattern of urbanity where people increasingly live and work across the territory of the city rather than uniformly commuting to centrally located, mono-use central business districts. With its location two blocks from the Carroll Street F-stop, the site will provide essential access to innovation hubs at Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, SoHo and the Flatiron district and promote walk-to-work office space for residents of Gowanus, Carrol Gardens, Red Hook, Cobble Hill and Park Slope. Originally zoned for low density, heavy manufacturing uses, Gowanus is rich in history and visual character, but its outdated zoning requirements make it a challenge to design for the city’s current and future workforce needs.
Parallel to a city-led neighborhood framework which seeks to transform Gowanus into a forward-looking, truly mixed-use neighborhood, PAU is guiding the project through a rezoning effort, or ULURP, that will enable easily subdivided creative commercial spaces that have ample natural light and are geared toward a critical mass of small-scale, innovative office tenants; remove an antiquated parking requirement that would otherwise drastically increase project cost and flood vulnerability in this low lying area; and allow for a critically needed educational use in the form of a specialized STEAM high school. Designed for Two Trees Management, the building’s more than 260,000 SF of leasable office space will bring scores of new jobs to the Gowanus, while the high school and small-scale retail spaces activate the surrounding streets and bring much needed services and educational opportunity to local residents and office workers alike.
PAU’s design seeks to create cross-pollination between the high school at the base of the building and the creative offices that occupy the floors above. The potential for such interactions will be encouraged through the building section, which promotes visual connections between the programs through a common skylight atrium. The massing strategy cants the building’s three street-facing facades inward at the ground level, widening the sidewalks for the new office workers and students, expanding out to the largest office floors, and then back in again on higher floors, creating a variety of floorplate sizes while improving daylight and sightlines for the surrounding streets.
Honoring the neighborhood’s industrial legacy, the building’s scale will be modulated by a high bay façade evocative of the neighboring factories. The use of hand-laid red brick will further situate the building in its historical context despite a dynamic, contemporary form. The result is a building that respects the current street wall on neighboring side streets, announces itself in forward-looking architectural form on Hoyt, while simultaneously providing the types of space necessary for contemporary learning and working.