27 Cranberry: McMansion for Moderns

The lot at 27 Cranberry Street will be home to a “modern” structure if new owner developer Louis Greco and “architect of the year” Martin Santini get their way. CB2’s Land Use Committee has approved the design which reports say is a four story single family home with a glass facade not to mention an underground squash court.Curbed notes that this is not too much of a surprise considering Mr. Greco is the developer of such decidedly modern efforts as On Prospect Park in Brooklyn and the Dillon in Manhattan.

The plan still needs approval from NYC Landmark Preservation Commission which laid over its November 9 hearing. As of this writing, it is not on the LPC docket for its November 23 meeting.

While renderings have yet to surface online, it’s description would strike many preservationists and residents of this landmarked neighborhood as out of character. One Curbed commenter sums it up, saying, “Cranberry is HISTORIC historic…. Would be sad, to see a super modern element shoved in there.”

The Brooklyn Eagle reports on the Brooklyn Heights Association’s reaction so far:

Brooklyn Eagle: Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, denied her organization supports the design. She sought a narrowing of the house’s size so as to widen the space between it and the adjacent historic frame house to give access for its maintenance. That suggestion was rejected by the architect, who noted that No. 25 has a two-foot-wide alley along its property line.

Less glass on the façade also was urged by the BHA. The architect said the design is contemporary and not intended to imitate its neighbors. Although much limestone will be included, the style will differ.

The seller of the lot is BHA Governor Brian McGorry.

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  • my2cents

    Good lord, Here comes more ornamental masonry over steel frame…
    Why not let people build something new, so long as it is in SCALE with the street scape? I live around the corner, but I wouldn’t object to a nicely executed, properly scaled modernist structure as opposed to some ersatz historicist BS.

  • AEB

    …well, there’s modernism and modernism.

    In a place as small and architecturally homogeneous as BH, there HAS to be compatibility with surrounding structures. Therein the challenge to those who would think outside of the…saltbox.

  • Jorale-man

    @AEB is right. A building can have some modern elements but it should blend in too. It shouldn’t be standing out simply for the gratification of the owner or architect’s ego.

  • EHinBH

    Nobody is ever happy. Would you rather they have set to build a multi-family piece of garbage like on Pinapple? I think a modern single-family home is a great addition to the hood as long as it is done with style and A+ materials.

  • BigDave

    Walking in the Heights:
    Fresh air to quaint locations —
    But some buildings stink.

  • Reggie

    Other than the BHA and CB2 landmarks committees, has anyone actually seen a rendering? I find it incredible how much has been said on various blogs by people who are going on nothing more than a sketchy verbal description.

  • Ginny

    It’s hard to opine specifically, not having seen a rendering of the Greco/Santini house; however, I think that any new building in the Heights should be in the tradition of the neighborhood, which is still, despite some missteps, a special, historic gem. If you are invested in this neighborhood, why not try to preserve the character that makes it unique? Everything doesn’t need to be “modern.” Why be a part of the unraveling? Is the proposed squash court meant to make it more acceptable?

  • http://loureads.com Lou

    That sucks. The building to the right of that lot has amazing Ivy that changes color in a glorious cascading color spectrum in the fall. Some of the upper ivy will probably be allowed to remain but the lower stuff is gone for sure.

    One plus is that currently that lot is a no parking zone. So at least we should get back one desperately needed parking spot. That is unless he makes the 1st floor a garage…

  • http://loureads.com Lou

    Will he open the underground squash court to the public?

  • Cranberry Beret

    @Reggie – sounds like the answer is no. All the blogs are just quoting the eagle article, which in turn seemed to be reporting on the minutes of the community board meeting. Is it passe for journalists to actually conduct interviews with the people they are covering? I have yet to see something along the lines of: “We contacted the owner and he slammed the door in our face! Then we contacted the architect and he gave us a big fat NO COMMENT! Then we contact the BHA and they said they’d get back to us.”

  • AEB

    Yo, Big Dave you are
    The BH poet sans peer
    Love and jook, Great Wall

  • Joe2: The Joe-ening

    I concur with people withholding judgment until the actual plans are made public, but the description from the article does invite a lot of skepticism about whether it would be a jarring eyesore for the block. I’m all for modernity – even the experimental, wonky kind of architecture that this seems to employ – but this sounds like it would be out of place.

  • Topham Beauclerk

    Architect of the year in New Jersey? Enough said.

  • my2cents

    Well, the Richard Meier building near Prospect Park was one of the nicest new buildings in Brooklyn, architecturally, so at least we know the developer has some taste (Let’s hope!)
    Plus if he’s building it for himself, hopefully the materials and execution should be top notch. I really hope the construction noise isn’t going to be horrible, as I am sure that site will be in earshot of my patio :(

    LOU, I thought I was the only one who noticed that ivy! It really is spectacular and mesmerizing when the wind blows over it! I guess I’d better take some photos before it’s hidden forever…

  • nabeguy

    Got to say, my2, there’s a vast difference context-wise between this proposal and the Meier building, as nice as it is. .

  • Demonter

    How ridiculous would a glass and steel modernist building look surrounded by 19th Century structures? Historical District….let’s see.

  • nabeguy

    The JW buildings on Orange and Columbia Heights were also considered ridiculous when they were erected in the pre-LPC years. The difference, however is that they were replacing existing structures that had architectural significance. In this case, the lot has been empty for 50+ years. I wouldn’t say that the new structure will look ridiculous, just it will be a jarring contrast to its immediate neighbors . Hopefully, it will be able to stand on it’s own merits, but if it is schlock-modern, then the it might present a threat to the area.