rogers marvel architects, new york city

Architects Robert Rogers, FAIA, and Jonathan Marvel, AIA, set an ambitious goal when designing this 14-unit townhouse project in Brooklyn, N.Y. “What we wanted to achieve was a row of individual single-family houses that had the character of brownstone Brooklyn and were also interesting on their own as a unit,” says Rogers. Given the iconic nature of Brooklyn brownstones, this was no easy task, but the jury agreed that he and Marvel succeeded. “The project belongs to the context without passively mimicking it,” said one judge.

The architects employed façade cutouts, copper window bays, and three different brick colors to create a pleasingly varied composition. And they looked to neighboring historic buildings for guidance on building height, window proportions, stoop dimensions, and brick quality, spinning their own modern-day interpretations of each element. For example, they recessed windows deep into the building frame, as in 19th-century townhomes, but replaced traditional trim with naturally occurring shadow lines. And the rectangular cutouts at the top of some units' front elevations allude to old-fashioned cornices. “These kinds of details are more of a recall than a recreation,” Marvel says. He and Rogers also worked hard to curb the project's energy consumption, super-insulating each residence and specing high-efficiency HVAC systems.

The project marked their first commission from a residential developer, and it won't be their last: They're already designing another row of townhouses nearby.

principals in charge: Robert Rogers, FAIA, and Jonathan Marvel, AIA, Rogers Marvel Architects
project architect: Scott Demel, LEED AP, Rogers Marvel Architects
project designer: Nebil Gokcebay, Rogers Marvel Architects
consulting architect: Willis DeLaCour, AIA, DeLaCour & Ferrara Architects, Brooklyn, N.Y.
developer: Abby Hamlin, HS Townhouse Development Partners, New York City
general contractor: David Wong, B2B Associates, Flushing, N.Y.
project size: 3,200 square feet to 4,400 square feet per unit
site size: 0.7 acre
construction cost: $203 per square foot
sales price: $2.6 million to $2.9 million per unit
units in project: 14
photography: Nathan Sayers, except where noted

product specs
bathroom plumbing fittings and fixtures:Kohler Co.; bathroom cabinets:NuTone; brick/masonry products:Carolina Ceramics Brick Co., Glen-Gery Corp., Mutual Materials; countertops:Basaltina S.r.l.; dishwasher, oven, range:Bosch Home Appliances; fireplace/wood stove:Buckley Rumford Co.; garbage disposer:Anaheim Manufacturing Co. (Waste King); hardware:Omnia Industries; hvac equipment:EXHAUSTO, Trane; insulation:Roxul; interior doors:Manhattan Door Corp.; kitchen cabinets:Bulthaup Corp; kitchen plumbing fixtures:Moen; lighting fixtures:Aladdin Light Lift, Lightolier; paints/stains:Benjamin Moore & Co.; patio doors:Crystal Window & Door Systems, Kawneer North America; refrigerator:Sub-Zero; roofing:Firestone Building Products; skylights/roof windows:VELUX-America; wall cladding:Sto Corp.; windows:Wausau Window and Wall Systems