Landmarks Approves Plans for Three Story Residence in Crown Heights North III HD with Modifications

Rendering of 1511 Pacific Street (Center Building)/ Image Credit: Citiscape Architectural Consulting

The proposed building design features elements that are characteristic to the historic district such as triangular pediments and fluted pilasters and brackets. On February 4, 2020, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to approve, with modifications, a Certificate of Appropriateness to construct a new three-story, two-family residential row house on a vacant lot located at 1511 Pacific Street within the Crown Heights North III Historic District, Brooklyn. The lot is located on the north side of Pacific Street and bounded by Kingston Street to the west and Albany Avenue to the east. It is located between a four-story brick building on 1509 Pacific Street and a two-story stucco building on 1513 Pacific Street.

The proposed building will be a narrow building with a width of 15 feet and 6 inches, which covers the entirety of the vacant lot’s width, a depth of 35 feet and 2 inches, and a height of 41 feet and 8 inches. The façade of the building’s base is made from cast brownstone. There is a staircase that leads to a doorway on the west side of the building. The side of the staircase is decorated with brownstone. The doorway is a dark gray double door with a Classical main entrance surround with fluted pilasters and bracket. On top of the doorway, there is a brown triangular pediment decorated with a sunburst ornament. The façade of the first, second, and third stories of the building is made from brick. The building’s windows are aluminum double hung windows. The windows on the base, first story, and second story have a rough-faced brownstone lintel on top. The windows on the third floor have round-arch-headed window openings crowned by triple-rowlock arches. There is a light gray fiberglass cornice that lines the top of the building and there is a sloped bulkhead on the roof with a parapet in the rear. The building’s rear façade is made from stucco.

Alex Lotovsky of Citiscape Architectural Consulting, the project’s architect firm, stated that the proposed building’s details come from the 1509 and 1513 Pacific Street buildings. 1509 Pacific Street, located west of the lot, is a four-story Romanesque revival flats building. Prominent details of the building include rough-faced brownstone lintels over the windows, round-arch-headed window openings crowned by triple-rowlock arches, and a cornice with foliate ornament. 1513 Pacific Street, located east of the lot, is a Queen Anne two-story row house. Prominent details of the building include a doorway with a Classical main entrance surround with fluted pilasters and brackets, a triangular pediment on top of the doorway, and a bracketed cornice.

Both 1509 and 1513 Pacific Street have features that are seen throughout the Crown Heights North III Historic District. The historic district comprises of single- and two-family row houses, flat buildings, and apartment houses mostly built from the 1870s to the 1930s. The architectural styles seen in the district include Neo-Grec, Queen Anne, Romanesque Revival, and Colonial Revival styles. Brick, stone, and brownstone are the most common materials used for the buildings within the district. Common design details seen within the district include main-entrance surrounds with fluted pilasters and brackets, incised abstracted foliate ornament, angular pediments, full-height angled and rounded bays, and decorated cornices.

At the hearing, the Commissioners expressed issues with the details of the proposed building and expressed concerns with the building’s cornice.

Commissioner Anne Holford-Smith noted that the proposed building should have its own identity instead of replicating the elements of 1509 and 1513 Pacific Street and form a hybrid that does not work. Commissioner Michael Goldblum agreed and stated that taking elements from the two buildings makes the proposed design look “jarring.”

Vice Chair Fredrick Bland stated that the building’s height does not have to be that high but the cornice looks “heavy” and should be reduced. On the other hand, Commissioner Jeanne Lufty stated that the building should be more reduced because it is narrow. She noted that building itself does not need to be shorter but the cornice could be reduced.

Despite the concerns, the Commissioners voted to approve the project upon modifications. The Commissioners asked that the architects reduce the cornice and work with Landmarks staff to modify the details. Upon approval, Chair Sarah Carroll stated that the proposed building will fill in the gap between 1509 and 1513 Pacific Street and help the aesthetic of the streetscape.


By: May Vutrapongvatana (May is the CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2019)

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