ODA Designs New Crystalline Facade for 10 Jay Street in Brooklyn’s DUMBO

The project, which also included extensive restoration work and a new lobby, prepared the 230,000-square-foot former warehouse for new office tenants.
ODA 10 Jay Street facade

10 Jay Street stands at the easternmost edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Courtesy Pavel Bendov

In 1898, downtown Brooklyn’s waterfront was a very different place: It was a bustling industrial district where goods were constantly moving between warehouses and ships plying the East River. That year also saw the opening of another major warehouse, on John Street between Pearl and Jay Streets—what’s now 10 Jay Street. The steel and brick structure was a sugar refinery that reached all the way to the waterfront, where ships could directly unload cargo into the building’s ten stories of storage. In 1925, the building was converted to a winery. By end of the decade, one of its masonry facades had been torn off, leaving an interior party wall exposed to the elements. 10 Jay Street fell into disrepair and stayed in a decrepit state until recently, when its owners tapped New York architecture firm ODA to design a new facade and prepare the property for commercial occupancy.

10 Jay Street’s owners, Triangle Assets, were aware of the building’s unique construction and architectural character. “They just don’t make buildings like this anymore,” says Benjamin Stavrach, director of leasing and property management at Triangle. The historic structure, which includes octagonal brick columns and terracotta arches, had to go through the Landmarks Preservation Commission approvals process, and its prominent location only raised the stakes further. “As the only privately owned building in all of Brooklyn Bridge Park [all other waterfront buildings hold 99-year leases] we wanted to make sure that we were making a statement that we could stand by for years to come,” said Stavrach in a press release. “You can see this building from every direction, from land and sea; it’s definitely the crown jewel of DUMBO.”

Taking inspiration from the building’s sugary past, ODA conceived a crystalline facade to replace the missing exterior. Meanwhile, 10 Jay Street’s existing exterior brickwork was restored. “The outcome is intended to be both beautiful and provocative,” says ODA founder and architect Eran Chen. The interiors leave much of the building’s historical features exposed, including its terracotta arches, octagonal columns, and brick walls. The lobby features a 12-by-13-foot drawing of the Manhattan Bridge that’s been rendered in moss by artist Andrew Antonaccio and designer Paloma Teppa.

For those wanting to learn more about 10 Jay Street and ODA’s new book Unboxing New York, Chen and David van der Leer, principal of DVDL Design Decisions, will be in conversation at 10 Jay Street on March 26.

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Categories: Workplace Architecture