Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
Emerging from the long neglected waterfront area that was once a nexus of industry, 416-420 Kent, by ODA New York, defies convention and redefines urban living with a profoundly innovative new approach to residential tower construction.
ODA New York has spent the past decade in passionate pursuit of the brand’s mission to make NYC more livable, taking once-rarified luxuries—notably, ample light, access to green space, amenities that foster a sense of community—and turning them into hallmarks. Which is why former-mayor-turned-real-estate-developer Eliot Spitzer—picking up his father’s torch—handpicked the firm for the challenge of bringing quality living to Williamsburg’s waterfront, and to his first project at 416-420 Kent Ave.
Once the epicenter of New York industry and home to a pantheon of plants that included Domino Sugar, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Standard Oil, and Schaefer Beer, the East River waterfront has, since their migration, fallen into significant disuse and disrepair. For years, South Williamsburg’s massive potential has gone unrealized, so it seemed an unconventional choice to absorb 800,000 feet of residential space encompassing 857 apartment units (20% of which will be affordable housing). But now 416-420 Kent will be joining a larger swell of development through which the neglected waterfront is finally being reclaimed.
For this project, ODA New York, long recognized for its modular reimagining of New York’s typical architectural formats, has introduced one stunningly notable innovation.
Whereas traditionally, apartment dwellers have had to spar for the four coveted corner units framing each floor of any standard building, residents of 416-420 Kent will find themselves happily relieved of this challenge, as more than a full eighty percent of the 857 apartments comprising Kent’s three 22-floor towers will be corner units.
By using two standard floor plans—mirrors of each other—and flipping them in different directions around the central axis of each tower’s mass, the result is three distinct, multi-dimensional façades, each filled with mid-floor “corner” units. These shifts in floor plan will use cantilevering to ensure that a majority of units will also feature garden terraces—a third ODA trademark and coveted rarity in any city.
Adding this third dimension to the envelope will provide a platform for intimate moments of interaction, both indoors and out, giving these multi-family apartments the experience of living in a single residential home.
Units will boast northern sightlines onto the Williamsburg Bridge, the East River, and eastern vistas of downtown Manhattan, and Kent’s promenade will border the communal boardwalk stretching from Greenpoint all the way to Dumbo. This enviable suffusion of light, and expansive outdoor space is yet another example of ODA’s devotion to redefining contemporary urban life.
“The vast majority of towers in NYC are extruded rectangles. There are historical, contextual and practical reasons for this. As population density in New York increased, our habitats borrowed from the corporate archetypal towers and took on a similar two dimensional structure. Our reliance on this big box concept created an inherent locational hierarchy with its shape - corner apartment, corner office, corner view etc. ODA challenged this hierarchy by designing a tower where every dwelling unit is a corner apartment," says Eran Chen, founding principal at ODA New York.