July 24, 2017

Award-Winning Brick at The Jefferson

We are proud to announce that The Jefferson has been awarded a 2017 Brick in Architecture Gold Award in the Residential – Multi-Family category, for its unique and thoughtful brickwork in New York’s East Village. To learn more about the project, read the full award-winning submission after the jump. 

Provide a general overview or summary of the project.

In New York City’s bustling East Village, The Jefferson is a sustainable multi-family building that demonstrates a good-neighbor approach to development. This project is a successful model of an “urban steward project” as a result of responsible civic and environmental design. Formerly the site of the Jefferson Theater, a vaudeville theater that was demolished in 2000, this 115,000 square foot project is densely packed with 83 market-rate units ranging from studios to 3-bedroom penthouses. In addition to its 157’ wide facade on 13th Street, the development also fronts 14th Street with two low-scale commercial buildings.

Define the project’s aesthetic goals. How did the use of brick help achieve these goals? 

The design team used brick as the primary building material to create a contemporary yet contextually appropriate building that draws inspiration from both its surroundings and site history. The street presence of the Jefferson is enhanced by a carefully detailed façade, clever massing, and block-appropriate cornice lines. The façade’s light mottled silvery brick complements a prevalence of white and red masonry in the neighborhood and establishes a shared visual language between the project’s two northern-facing commercial facilities on 14th Street with the residential building on 13th Street.

Echoing the site’s former theatrical presence, the building’s center extends slightly out and above the rest of the block, creating a proscenium with a “play” of brick piers and varied window patterns. Framed with charcoal accent brick, this central “stage” is a defining feature of the façade, visible from down the block. Large-scale painted identity signage on the brick façade recalls a rich history of painted brick signs in New York City. These thoughtful gestures result in The Jefferson complementing the area’s 19th century architectural vernacular while simultaneously offering a bold example of modern craft.

Provide Innovative Aspects about the project 

The façade employs creative brick detailing to highlight the historical narrative behind the design, with a composition of three distinct types of brick. The primary brick used was “Aztec White”; selected for its mottled silvery appearance as a nod to the white brick details of the neighborhood. A charcoal accent brick in “Raven Blend” provided a strong contrast to the light brick, and was employed to frame out the central massing of the façade, designed to mimic a proscenium stage.  The accent brick is corbelled at the 2 outer piers, and runs horizontally across the 3rd floor plate in soldier orientation to define the base of the “stage”, raised 2 stories above the entrance. On the flanking wings of the façade, a creative scattered array of an additional black glazed accent brick within the 2nd  floor spandrel generates movement towards the center stage and building entrance.

Further innovative aspects of the project include its exceptional environmental design. The building received LEED Gold certification in part due to stormwater credits – a rare accomplishment in an urban setting. For tenants, The Jefferson also provides ample opportunity to connect with the natural environment, due to several outdoor spaces.

Describe the green or sustainable design principles used in this project.

The design instills a strong sense of sustainability and sociability with its residents. To create a building that would be a ‘supporting player’ to life on this block, the team closely studied the neighborhood’s scale, current ecological trends, and the expectations that come with contemporary New York living.

The Jefferson achieved LEED Gold certification in part due to stormwater credits – made possible through the implementation of a blue roof that can detain water for up to 24hours to help reduce overflow in the city’s drainage system; and a centrifugal action sediment separator that filters stormwater before it enters the municipal sewer system. Reflective rooftop pavers and a shared 1,853 sf roof garden fit with planters help with heat island mitigation. Regional materials, the reduction of construction waste, and green power diversion all further contribute to the building operating as an urban steward.

Tenants are provided ample opportunity to connect with the natural environment from indoors through exemplary views and roof garden access. Indoor air quality is enhanced by building materials vetted for aesthetic value, durability, cost, and multi-faceted impacts on both human and environmental health. Additional sustainable elements include 72 bicycle spaces, an eight-sort recycling system, and high-performance windows.