Williamsburg, Brooklyn is under a transformation from an industrial past to a more urbanized future. In order to meet the demand for apartments, developers must use FAR to its fullest potential, promising great return on investment. The site of the original Domino Sugar Factory for this development has been scrutinized and protested by many of the local residents, because they have been promised for years by the local government affordable housing units. The original brick building has been historically preserved as was required to be integrated into the developers plans for the project. The site located adjacent the Williamsburg Bridge also addresses the waterfront of the East River, which is actually a tidal estuary. Working with the concept of buildings as piers, the 1200 apartment units, the 8-storey slab courtyards respond to the context of Williamsburg, giving public access to the waterfront with a series of courtyards. A landscaped roof is an amenity to the residents in the complex. These slab courtyards terminate in three separate point towers, which maximize the potential for luxury apartments. The restoration of the Domino Factory will allow for artist residents and studio spaces as micro units with the idea that shared public spaces per floor act as social spaces.
Winter 2014 University of Michigan Systems studio in collaboration with Jordan Lutren, led by Visiting Professor Benjamin Fortunato. Studio participants/researchers: Chris Makowiecki, Hao He, Katherine Giglio, Mark Langrehr, Mike Lapico, Ryan Scanlan, Weishu Wang and Xutow Wang.