Diamond in the Rough

ARCHITECT: Andre Kikoski Architect
www.akarch.com

When Andre Kikoski was hired to design a new facade for a pair of warehouses in Bushwick, a gritty, gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood, he wanted it to nod to the pointillist, technically challenging skin of Jean Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe, in Paris. “But this is not a watchmaker’s building,” the New York architect says. “And Bushwick is certainly not the Seine.”

So he made a Brooklyn homage. He found two-inch-thick motor-ized steel doors (also used in Old Navy warehouses) and added two layers of steel cladding. The top Cor-Ten panel was originally designed with rows of precise holes, but the renderings looked too neat, so Kikoski took an eraser to the drawing; the resulting laser-cut pattern runs from full circles to half moons. The hundred-foot-long facade’s five bays fold up into awnings for a grocery store, a wine shop, and a live-music venue. Late at night, when the bays are closed, inset LEDs cast a bewitching glow. The mannered coarseness of the rusted steel makes the building a stylish middleman for the neighborhood’s chop shops and rooftop farms. “This is why we’re all in New York,” Kikoski says.

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