A new multi-family building designed by BKSK Architects offers a neighborly approach to development in NYC’s East Village. Formerly the site of The Jefferson, a vaudeville theater that was demolished in 2000, this 115,000 square foot project is densely packed with 83 market-rate units ranging from studios to 3-bedroom penthouses. In addition to its 157’ wide facade on 13th Street, the development also fronts 14th Street with two low-scale commercial buildings.
For years after the theater’s demise, this block of 13th Street was challenged by the large and empty lot extending through to 14th Street where the main entrance had been. Now, a continuous street wall has been re-established and cornice lines re-enforced. An interesting prevalence of white masonry on the north side of the block, red masonry on the south side, has been bolstered. Yet this is not an architecture of assimilation. The Jefferson offers a forward-looking sense of modern craft, assertive and bold. Echoing the lost theatrical presence, the building’s center rises above the block’s datum, outlined by a painted steel frame to create a proscenium, with a “play” of brick piers and varied window patterns on display.
This careful attention to detail extends to the interior with help from BKSK’s interior design team. Each unit features custom-designed kitchen and bathrooms. Warm oak paneling on the walls and ceiling both disguises modern appliances and defines the volume of the kitchen. In the bathroom, vanities are composed of reclaimed barn wood set within a steel satin-nickel finished frame supporting a white Corian sink.
Less conspicuous are The Jefferson’s sustainable design strategies. These include a streamlined eight-sort recycling system, high performance windows, a blue roof to detain stormwater, and a centrifugal action stormwater sediment separator that filters storm water before it enters the city’s sewer system. The Jefferson received LEED Gold certification, in part due to stormwater credits, a rare accomplishment for an urban building.
The New York Design Awards, Silver Winner, 2016
“Green Zones: Do Buyers Want Sustainable Buildings?,” New York Observer, May 2015
“LEED Gold-Seeking Complex Boasts Modern Amenities and Green Space in the East Village,” Inhabitat, January 2015
“An East Village Developer’s Name Game,” New York Times, June 2013
CM & Associates – construction management; GACE Consulting Engineers – structural; GEA Consulting Engineers – MEP; James Gainfort Consulting Architects – exterior envelope; Horton Lees Brogden – lighting design; Lewis S. Goodfriend & Associates – acoustical; Town & Garden – landscaping; Kara Mann Design – interior design of amenity spaces; Steven Winter Associates – energy consultant
Photos by Jonathan Wallen and Raimund Koch