A Residential Complex Soars Over the Waterfront in Brooklyn
As the East River snakes between the shores of four of New York’s five boroughs, it shapes islets, tributaries, and peninsulas along its way. These surprisingly saltwater banks that have historically been ports for the domestic and international shipping routes docking in the Big Apple today are prime real estate—so long as the buildings meet 100-year flood-plain requirements. Manhattan’s were the first to be developed, with a close stock of steel-and-glass skyscrapers, brick public housing, and seawall-protected esplanade parks. Queens followed suit with a focus on residential towers, their unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline affording enviable urban sunsets.
But it’s Brooklyn, the city’s second-priciest and most populous borough, that is making big waves in luxury waterfront living—its innovative buildings giving residents a skyline of their own to boast. Since the 2005 residential rezoning of the Greenpoint and Williamsburg shores, towers, parks, and even some beaches have made northern Brooklyn one of the hottest markets for young professionals, generationally wealthy coeds, and even the odd celebrity (Adam Driver, Patrick Wilson). Now, on the bulbous landmass where it meets Queens at Newtown Creek is Eagle + West, a ground-up, 860,700-square-foot complex of high-end, market-rate, and affordable rental apartments by OMA (architecture), Marmol Radziner (public and amenity spaces), and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners (apartment interiors) is helping contribute a renewed relationship to its misnomer estuary.
Eagle + West Offers Luxury Waterfront Living in Greenpoint
The project’s site, the 22-acre Greenpoint Landing, has naturally sweeping vistas of its surrounding skylines and waterways, so its architectural challenge came in arranging its massive program—745 apartments across two towers and a low-rise, plus two retail spaces, a parking garage, and 42,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor amenities, including two pools, coworking spaces, a podcast studio, and a playground—to respect its neighboring town houses, which top out at seven stories. Zoning allowed for both a 400- and a 300-foot-tall tower set 40 feet apart. OMA New York partner Jason Long increased that distance to 60 and imagined their profiles as “fraternal twins,” stepping back and toward each other in seven- to eight-story terraced and cantilevered blocks like puzzle pieces that don’t quite fit. These 40- and 30-floor siblings are connected by a two-story, 210-foot-long Vierendeel truss-and-glass bridge that houses the indoor pool, a lounge for the outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a double-height reservable room for resident functions, all topped by a 1,000-square-foot green roof.
“We created a composition that changes as you move around it,” Long says of Eagle + West’s monumental massing, “because it opens and closes in a series of different gateways as you look through the building, either toward the Manhattan skyline or out over Brooklyn.” To mitigate the scale of the towers, fronting the lower density streetside is a seven-story structure of affordable-housing units with its own gym and event spaces. And where there is an entrance to a residential lobby (there are three), the facade is notched inward, like the triangular cantilevers overhead and the shadows cast by their facades, shingled in white precast concrete.
Ample Amenities and Private Balconies
To complement the incredible waterway views, an indoor-outdoor living experience at Eagle + West was important. Beyer Blinder Belle, also the project’s executive architect, conceived 150 unique apartment layouts for the range of studios to three-bedrooms, with oak flooring, concretelike countertops, porcelain-tile backsplashes, and two color palettes—dawn and dusk—to take advantage of their 8-foot-square picture windows. The diversity of options is “about not pigeonholing prospective tenants,” BBB senior associate Kimberly Cornell explains, “because everyone has a different sensibility.”
While only 30 units have private balconies, gathering the extensive suite of amenities around two outdoor podiums gives all renters a similar feel throughout the interconnected buildings. Where there is an indoor facility, there is an outdoor connection. A gathering on the barbecue deck, for instance, can spill into the great room for a respite from the sun. Colleagues in the coworking lounge can take lunch together outside or relax over drinks and a game of bocce at day’s end. OMA’s dynamic architecture inspired these public and amenity spaces, says Ron Radziner, who, with Leo Marmol, is copartner of Marmol Radziner and an Interior Design Hall of Fame member.
This inspiration is exemplified in such lobby details as a notched white-oak entry to an elevator bank, cobblestone flooring, and the gray and green marble and limestone cladding the walls. “At the same time, the interiors should be inviting and comfortable,” Radziner continues, so the soft furnishings feature such venerable pieces as De Sede’s channeled, snaking DS-600 sectional in supple tan leather. “The taller tower lobby is so architecturally soaring that it called for something iconic, with the gravitas to anchor it,” adds Erika Montes, Marmol Radziner’s interiors studio director. Heavyweight design credentials appear in other furniture throughout, by the likes of Joe Colombo, Sabine Marcelis, Patricia Urquiola, Edward van Vliet, and myriad custom pieces by Marmol Radziner. The latter speak to the project’s industrial-meets-handmade qualities, as witnessed in the lighting by New York designer Adam Otlewski. “We felt a great responsibility to create spaces that would be beneficial and appropriate for this neighborhood,” Montes continues, “mixing aspirational pieces with contemporary ones made locally.” Radziner concurs: “Navigating that balance is fun.”
Native Plants Create a Biophilic Haven
Radziner’s firm took a similar approach to the project’s landscape design, which he describes as “not too buttoned-up.” Wind-resistant plants like prairie dropseed, little bluestem, and purple coneflower along with deciduous, native trees like red maple and pagoda dogwood create a varied, seasonal tapestry within their hardscape bounds and at the ground level. Along the waterfront, Eagle + West adds a new landscaped plaza to Greenpoint’s public esplanade. On a late-summer day, as new residents were just settling in, many of its tables and chairs were already occupied by neighbors.
Inside Eagle + West, Greenpoint’s Newest Residential Development
beyer blinder belle architects and planners: carlos cardoso; cassie walker; andrew jacobs; james sullivan.
marmol radziner: leo marmol; ashley nath; aista sobouti; matt jackson; morgane manoha; abby rutherford; martina roth.
oma: yusef ali dennis; christine yoon; remy bertin; jingyi bi; sam biroscak; titouan chapouly; ken chongsuwat; marie-claude fares; yashar ghasemkhani; anders grinde; wesley leforce; chong ying pai; nathan petty; andres rabano; laylee salek; alan song; wo hong wu; soojung yoo; steven young; juan pablo zepeda.
thornton tomasetti: facade.
focus lighting: lighting consultant.
mtwtf: custom signage.
lolita cros; picture room: art consultants.
desimone consulting engineers: structural engineer.
cosentini associates: mep.
langan engineering & environmental services: civil engineer.
scanga innovative woodworking: millwork.
new line structures: general contractor.
de sede: sectionals (lobby 1), tan lounge chairs (lobby 2).
allied maker: wood floor lamp (lounge 1).
emmanuelle simon: gray barrel chair.
adam otlewski: shaded floor lamps (lobby 1, lobby 2, reserve room).
stahl + band: cocktail table (lobby 2).
pulpo: round side table.
suite ny: dining chairs (reserve room).
abra lighting: custom cantilever light.
&tradition: green sectionals.
juniper design group: ceiling fixtures (mailroom), table lamps (great room).
ahrend: chairs (coworking lounge).
serge mouille: sconces.
stone source: floor tile.
gordon: chairs (great room).
caesarstone: countertop (kitchen).
treefrog veneer: cabinetry veneer.
florim: backsplash tile.
kährs: flooring (kitchen, living area).
rustico tile: decking (pool).
walker zanger: pool tile.
sto: ceiling surfacing.
heath ceramics: mantel tile (great room).
abc stone: mantel stone.
moroso: chairs, sofas.
made by choice: round side table.
amara rugs: custom rugs.
hakwood: wood flooring.
anthology woods; shinnoki: oak paneling.
dunn-edwards; ppg industries; sherwin-williams company: paint.
bpdl: concrete facade panels.
interpane: facade glass.
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