Landmarks Approves Revised Cobble Hill Rowhouse Project

Revised Congress Street project. Image courtesy: Morris Adjmi Architects

The Morris Adjmi-designed project includes renovating and enlarging four existing rowhouses and building five new rowhouses along Congress Street. On October 16, 2012, Landmarks approved Congress Street Development LLC’s multi-rowhouse development project at 100 through 128 Congress Street in the Cobble Hill Historic District. Congress Street Development plans to restore and enlarge four rowhouses by adding one-story, set-back rooftop additions. The developer will also replace an abutting low-rise garage with five four-story rowhouses.

At a September 2012 hearing, the commissioners asked the developer to revise the proposal. The commissioners disliked the metal stoops, proposed for all nine rowhouses, which would be in a side-stair configuration, as being atypical for the district. The commissioners also found the zinc-clad rooftop additions too visible, and recommended more clearly differentiating between the renovated rowhouses and new rowhouses. (See Cityland’s coverage of the hearing here.)

Architect Morris Adjmi presented the revised proposal at the October 16 meeting. The zinc-clad addition to the existing rowhouses would now be set back six inches from the sidewall on the western edge of the row. The stoops remained in the side-stair configuration, but were redesigned with more metal detailing. The cornice on the new rowhouses was more clearly defined, and parlor-level windows were lengthened. A large bay window on the corner of the easternmost rowhouse facing Hicks Street was also redesigned. The red-brick proposed for all the buildings was changed to a slightly lighter shade.

Opposite view of rowhouse project. Image courtesy: Morris Adjmi Architects

According to the developer’s preservation consultant, Ward Dennis, the stoops were redesigned in a manner consistent with the area’s historic character, with paneling, classic banisters, and segmented-arch gates. Dennis stated that “side-stoops” had been used in the mid-19th century for residential buildings on narrow streets.

The commissioners responded favorably to the revised proposal. Commissioner Michael Goldblum noted Adjmi had better differentiated the restored and new buildings. Goldblum, however, said he was still concerned about the stoop materials. Commissioner Fred Bland praised the project, finding that the still-visible addition “did not interfere with the appreciation” of the rowhouses. Commissioner Libby Ryan stated that the proposal represented a “substantial improvement” over the 1980s garage that currently occupied the site, and would be “a seamless addition to the Cobble Hill Historic District.” Chair Robert B. Tierney concurred with the comments, and led a unanimous vote for approval.

 LPC: 110-128 Congress Street, Brooklyn (13-3663) (October 16, 2012) (Architect: Morris Adjmi Architects).

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