DXA Studio

DXA Studio

New York, NY


280 Saint Marks Avenue

  • Type: Multi-Family Residential
  • Completed 2018
  • 80,000 SF

280 St. Marks Avenue is an 80,000 square-foot-multi-family building with 32 residences. The street front townhouses update the classic Brooklyn townhouse for a multi-family context. They feature private front yards with entrances that open directly onto the sidewalk. Inside, the plan preserves the traditional arrangement of lower floors with the living room and kitchen and upper floors with bedrooms. The penthouses have floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors that open onto private terraces looking out over the leafy green spaces of the neighborhood and to the Manhattan skyline beyond.

At the center of the building is over 5,000 square feet of communal space, featuring a front lobby and a double-height residents’ lounge with communal table and pantry kitchen. The oversized windows and doors open directly onto the landscaped 2,945-square-foot backyard garden designed by Patrick Cullina. Additional amenities include a fitness room, bike room, common roof deck with grill, and underground parking.

Located in the heart of Prospect Heights, one of Brooklyn’s most vibrant and historic neighborhoods, 280 St. Marks Avenue is at once thoroughly contextual and distinct from its neighbors. The neighborhood features largely historic brownstones, in popular demand with those who move from Manhattan to Brooklyn in search of more space and access to a backyard. It is always a challenge to strike the right balance when designing a new building in an area with a strong architectural identity. We believe our contemporary architecture should relate to its surroundings—working to understand the distinct characteristics of the existing fabric and translating it into a thoughtful addition to the street.

The cadence of the typical Brooklyn brownstone street is one of the most recognizable urban fabrics in New York City. The even widths of brownstone facades set up a regular rhythm of front steps and yards, while their differing heights play a secondary melody. The variety of neoclassical details, stoops, plantings, and colors adds a picturesque dynamism. We synthesized these attributes by designing the facade around the 25 foot-lot-width of neighboring brownstones, breaking up the mass of the multi-family building and providing on-street entrances to the ground floor duplexes.

While designed to be contextually sensitive, 280 St. Marks Avenue also purposefully differentiates itself from its neighbors in some ways. In a neighborhood of deep reddish-brown brownstones, 280 St. Marks Avenue is a striking white Petersen brick building that spans what would otherwise be six individual townhouses. This is not an instigation, but rather an invitation to test how design can be used to respond and relate to a consistent building stock. The building therefore presents multiple approaches to contextuality.

Read more

Status: Built
Location: Brooklyn, NY, US
Firm Role: Architect + Interior Design
Additional Credits: Photography by Florian Holzherr