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Brick Blueprint with STAT Architecture

New York, NY

Architecture Firm
STAT Architecture
Principal
Suzanna Tharian
Project Manager
Carina Naula
brick blueprint

The goal of STAT Architecture is to provide quality architecture services by understanding client needs, working with budgets, and adhering to deadlines, while providing reliable services. Their focus and expertise lies in new construction projects and the gut rehabilitation of existing buildings. With services that extend through all aspects of the design and construction process, STAT Architecture prefers to work with projects from the inception of the design right through construction completion.

When we asked Suzanna and Carina about their recent project, Soundview Townhomes, this is what they had to say:

Q: What was your inspiration for this project?
A: Soundview Townhomes are located in the Bronx, across from Soundview Park, which opens to the Bronx River. We wanted our architecture to celebrate this unique park frontage, formalizing it with elegant townhomes and maximizing pedestrian access to the park. We looked to the tradition of garden and cooperative apartments in the Bronx and Queens as a point of reference. These building traditions sought to provide equitable and affordable access to light, air, and green space by proposing low-rise units adjacent to parks or gardens. In this vein, we were looking at the affordable housing built by Andrew J. Thomas in the 1930s, but also projects of a more modest scale, like the Regional Planning Association’s Sunnyside Garden. I should note that all these projects, building conventions, and typologies we referenced during design are brick buildings.

Q: What was the overall goal, or desired outcome, for this project? Why?
A: Site for this project is a former parking lot on a NYCHA property. Relatedly, our goal with this project is to replace an automobile infrastructure with a pedestrian infrastructure. The production of street friendly space has a lot to do with the subtleties of façade design. Layout questions—e.g. How far from the street? Where to place entrances? What rhythm and height for windows?—tend to dominate. However, materials tend to best convey care. So, when we selected our façade materials, we really sought proud, durable, stand-out materials to make this project a good neighbor to the Soundview community.

Q: Why did you choose brick for this project? How important is material to your approach?
A: Clients, neighbors, preservationists all seem to like brick best. Brick converses easily with New York’s historic fabric and the local authorities in the Bronx were also very keen on brick. Building practices are an evolving set of conventions. Buildings aren’t made the way they used to be, but neither are bricks. Buildings and aesthetics evolve in parallel conversations between builders, producers, designers, and the public. Our office has been working for 20 years with Sal Pate at Consolidated Brick. From Sal, we learn not just the cost of various bricks, but where and how they were made. All these aspects are important to us as designers. The manufacturing processes and location tell us about the embodied carbon cost of the materials we choose, while finish and color communicate contextuality and care.

Q: What features of brick are most important to you? What made you choose Glen-Gery?
A: For any material, our first priority is due diligence regarding its health and carbon cost. When it comes to aesthetics, the biggest differentiator is the finish texture. Some bricks can look clay-like and awkward, but we’ve had a lot of good experiences with Glen-Gery. It’s a reliable and attractive brick. Your team is very skilled at emulating the molded brick look that gives a project that majestic old New York feeling we all look for.

Q: Why did you select Sioux City product?
A: To be honest: color. We pick out bricks in person. We browse the showroom, pull things we like and put them all up on the wall. Ebonite smooth literally sparkled. We needed an attractive base; ebonite was an easy choice. We choose to complement it with glacier gray which is buff brick speckled with blues and creams.

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