Past and Future Converge in Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Building 92
|Project: Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 92
Architects: Workshop/apd and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners
Landscape Architect: D.I.R.T. Studio
Size: 34,000 square feet
Budget: $25.6 million
The entrance atrium illustrates everything significant about BLDG 92, the exhibition and visitors’ center that opened last November at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York, offering the public it’s first chance to enter its gates. In it you’ll see a bulky, 22,500-pound anchor from a ship built before the site was decommissioned in 1966, next to a sleek wind-solar street lamp by Duggal Visual Solutions, whose production facility opened there this year. Last weekend, we took a tour with Matthew Berman, principal at Workshop/apd, who teamed up with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners for a design-build process spanning over three years.
The impressive anchor and lamp represent the connection between the past and future of the yard. Literally. The City of New York bought the 300-acre property in 1967 and re-opened it as a massive industrial park that really began to diversify its tenants – of which there are now 17 – in the early 2000’s. The anchor sits on the side of restored 1857 building (former living quarters), while the lamp is near the new construction, a 27,000-square-foot addition whose south side is shaded by a gorgeous multistory solar screen.
From the inside, the pattern – an image of the 1936 U.S.S. Brooklyn launch – casts appealing shadows that change throughout the day. And the screen itself helps the building meet LEED Platinum (a certification still in the works) requirements of minimizing glare and heat gain by 50-percent.
Mindful of sustainability, Berman requested a list of who was in the yard and what they manufactured. The steel frame modules and concrete floors of the modern side of BLDG 92 were fabricated by tenant Capsys Corp. “A tractor pulled each of the modules through the yard, a great visual example of how local manufacturers and products were used,” says Berman, also mentioning IceStone surfacing in the bathrooms; Ferra Designs desks, benches, and signs; and millwork by Bien Hecho.
Yet it’s the modular system – five 19.5-by-40-foot boxes on four floors – of which the designer is most proud. “This is the first time we did them in steel, first time for multistory, and first time on a commercial level,” he said.
After experiencing BLDG 92’s presentations of everything from navy history (check out the antique hospital stretchers repurposed as art frames) to current military personnel (a photo exhibit), and step into the larger yard, founded in 1801.
The best way to take it all in is surely by bike tour. However you visit, note the crazy, absolutely not chronological, ascending, nor descending building numbers. The military assigned them that way to keep would-be attackers guessing. In tribute, the City did not change. We like the honoring of the old, and the endless amount of building and design still to come.