Brick is Back


As number of stylish developments across NYC feature brick facades and classically-inspired masonry details that harken back to another time, Abode2 takes a look at some examples proving brick is back in fashion

A reaction against the tall glass monoliths that defined new development of the last ten years, these projects are a homage to the lost art of traditional craftsmanship and evoke the classic masonry that was widely used across New York City throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Brick facades help ensure these new developments have a point of view while still being contextually sensitive additions to the neighbourhoods they are built in, adding to the neighbourhood’s fabric and contributing to the project's sense of place.

Front & York

Designed inside and out by celebrated architect Morris Adjmi, Front & York is introducing the first opportunity to live in a full-service, luxury urban oasis in Brooklyn's most coveted waterfront neighbourhood. Inspired by DUMBO’s iconic Belgian-block streets and historic warehouse architecture, Front & York’s custom brick façade is made of 1.2 million custom-made Glen-Gery bricks in a distinct hue that reflects the color of the surrounding streets. The intricate façade is topped with a scalloped, custom-molded concrete Superframe handcrafted in New York’s Hudson Valley.


(Credit: Will Femia)

Lantern House

Thomas Heatherwick’s first residential project in North America, features a striking hand-laid antiqued grey brickwork facade. Manufactured in the United States by Taylor Clay Products in North Carolina, the bricks that line the exterior of Lantern House's two buildings are a custom colour and shape designed especially for the project. A response to the neighbourhood’s maritime warehouses, Lantern House's facade evokes the pre-war boom in high-rise masonry construction in New York during the 1920s and pays homage to the lost art of traditional craftsmanship. The design and bricks feel rooted in and of New York and that was intentional. Thomas Heatherwick wanted to design something that is interesting to look at and could be part of the view. New York City is famous for its traditional grid structure from the streets to the tall glass towers, and the design for Lantern House turns that upside down and is a reaction against that.


180 East 88th Street

Designed by DDG and inspired by the boom in high-rise masonry construction in New York in the early 20th century, 180 East 88th Street pays homage to the lost art of traditional craftsmanship while maintaining a modern aesthetic. The intricate exterior features a striking hand-laid brick façade made of nearly 600,000 handmade bricks by Denmark’s master brickworks Petersen Tegl. The distinctive bricks, which include the elegant, elongated Kolumba style, possess a thoroughly unique texture and colour palette that reflect their handmade quality.


The Cortland
The Cortland is a new residential project located at 555 West 22nd Street across from the Hudson River Park in West Chelsea. A celebration of American craftsmanship, The Cortland represents a unique collaboration between two of the world’s leading architecture practices, Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Olson Kundig. The Cortland reflects the synergy of the firm’s two unique styles, and their shared dedication to craftsmanship, natural materials and deep understanding about how people want to live. Inspired by West Chelsea’s rich industrial heritage and the neighbourhood’s historic architecture, The Cortland’s intricate façade features a mix of limestone, brick and metal detailing and uses over one million hand-made and hand-laid bricks giving the project a distinctly historical feel.


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