Recovery House of Worship

New York, NY

This project is for the re-development of a fire damaged church in Downtown Brooklyn. The context is a transitional zone between the burgeoning arts and entertainment corridor of MetroTech, BAM and the Barclay Center, and the residential neighborhood of Boerum Hill. The site faces onto one of a series of triangular public open spaces that run along Flatbush Avenue, and is across the street from a new 52 story residential skyscraper. Given this dynamic mix the site demands a strong response.

The program for the site is unusual – with retail on the 1st floor, followed by 3 stories of church functions with the sanctuary on the 2nd level, and above the church a 5 story hotel. The feasibility study explored different strategies for this combination of uses while expressing the church as the predominant element. These included a) clearly separating the parts (with either an open or closed base), and b) a unified mass clad in a web or gradient. Ways to re-use relics from the existing church were also investigated. The sanctuary is marked on the exterior either as totally transparent space open to the street with views into a large scale cross, or, in a more traditional approach, with large scale colored glass windows. Different ideas for the corner included a glowing glass steeple, a hollowed out void of a phantom tower and a tear in the fabric of the whole building opening up a connection to the sky.