Looking down Broadway with the Williamsburghotel in the foreground and Manhattan in the background. (all images via morfae.com)

If you thought the recession stopped the architectural boomtown that is North Brooklyn, then you’ll have to think again. If Bushwick is getting all the buzz because of the art-borhood that is sprouting up further east, the experiments in architectural verticality are happening a little west in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

A rendering of the hotel from the street. (click to enlarge)

Miami-based Oppenheim Architects have won an international design competition to design a new luxury hotel in South Williamsburg called Williamsburghotel. Located adjacent to the new bank-cum-banquet hall and the Williamsburg Bridge and across the street from steak lover paradise Peter Luger’s, the three-building complex is planned to rise 440 feet into the air.

Architect Chad Oppenheim has a familial connection to the area but his design is more ultra-internationale than the area has ever seen before. This sleek deck of towers is a neighborhood game-charger, as they say.

Breathtaking views of Brooklyn and Manhattan are going to make Williamsburghotel pretty special. (via morfae.com) (click to enlarge)

“We did not want the hotel’s form to be in constant battle with the adjacent historic bank. We tried to accomplish more with less, opting for a timeless solution that delivers grace, and drama through powerful manipulations of scale, proportion and materiality. The primal notion of tower and basilica is a typology more often associated with the Renaissance, which is extremely appropriate for an area in the midst of its own full-blown renaissance. I am incredibly excited to do our first project in New York, and especially in Brooklyn. This was where my family first established roots when my great grandparents arrived from Europe. I was born here, and it is a wonderful home coming that will help us establish more of a presence in the area,” the architect is quoted as saying in the press release.

Further north in Greenpoint, East Village-based Park architects have drawn up plans for an ambitious major development that, if it gets the green light, could mean 4,000 units in 10 luxury condos — are there any other kind? — on the coast of the Polish/hipster neighborhood.

All this, plus the new Williamsburg tower rising on the East River means this neighborhood is changing fast and we’ll have to wait and see into what. Though a question that architect Will Prince posed on Twitter today is something I’d love to know the answer to:


If all this building makes you sad, then at least be thankful that the man who invented the “ugly Brooklyn condo” aesthetic (if you can call it that), architect Robert Scarano, is not involved in the latest wave of architecture. In fact, the ugly-tect may be banned for life from building in New York. Why? Because according to judge Joan R. Salzma, he was “deliberately overbuilding” and some of his filings were “so deceptive that they call to mind out-and-out fraud.”

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

4 replies on “North Brooklyn Is Going Vertical”

  1. Tower > Basilica > Renaissance > Williamsburg arts culture? Really? 
    Did they *actually* think anyone believes that? 

    Also, way to pick the absolute loudest part of the neighborhood to build a luxury hotel in. 

    1. The funny thing about PR is that tourists believe it. And then again that part of the hood isn’t any louder than Soho or the Lower East Side. I have to say the streetscape doesn’t look very nice in my opinion. So many ugly buildings there.

      1. I disagree about the noise. I live on Havemeyer and S. 4th facing Broadway and the brakes of the elevated JMZ is crazy loud above and beyond normal NYC street noise. 
        I agree about the streetscape though. North Brooklyn’s Broadway largely looks like one of Dante’s rings of hell. What a shitty place to put a hotel.

  2. What about the WAH Center? It is hard to tell in the image whether it is gone or just hidden by the bulk of that box-thing beside the tower.

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