Brooklyn based Architecture office Kane AUD has completed the renovation of a 1900 square foot townhouse in Brooklyn New York. The 1920s townhouse is located in the industrial neighborhood of Gowanus near the Gowanus canals. A challenge for the project was to maxime the use of space within the small existing 18ʼx34ʼ building footprint which was prohibited from adding additonal residential floor area due to its manufacturing zoning. The neighborhood is currently undergoing rezoning into a mixed-use residential zone which when concluded in 2021 will allow a second phase additon to add a 3rd floor.
Due to the very poor condition of the existing building including a leaking roof, unstable floor joists and obsolete plumbing and electrical systems, the project required complete renovation and upgrades to the building, The program brief included the reconfiguring of the divided 2 unit building back into a single family house with 3 bedrooms, 2 and 1/2 bathrooms, kitchen and living space and basement bonus room design for young family with a new born child and cat.
The design approach sought to introduce a new modern layout within the historic shell, creating subtle transformations of the spaces while retaining the townhouse street wall and character. The design included removal of all partition walls at the ground floor to create a visual connections to the living spaces, kitchen and dining with a new glazed openings to a rear garden space. The insertion of built in millwork throughout the spaces increases the functionality of each of the rooms while reducing the amount of dividing walls. A new central stair was introduced that carved a light well up to the roof that is covered by a clear frameless skylight designed to flood light into the center of the house and down into a newly furnished cellar. At the second level are three new bedrooms and 2 baths that were re-configured to fit tightly around the centeral open stair. The use of a daylight and natural material palette created bright and functional spaces that were informally arranged to allow for a easy flow of spaces. Both the front and back facades were rebuilt. At the front elevation the brick facade was restored along with new enlarged triple glazed windows to increase energy effeciencty. At the rear of the house new french doors adn window openings create a connection to the rear yard and increase the feeling of expansiveness within the small footprint.