Brooklyn Heights Historic District Passive Townhouse

This project is a unique townhouse for our office in that it is a substantial home in an NYC Landmarks District. Our client was looking to create a well-designed, high performance, single-family home that integrates into the existing Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

The client initially chose to do a Passive House for this single-family brownstone because it provides a better-built product with real tangible benefits. Some of these attributes include a quieter home free of street noise, fresh air changes multiple times a day, more open layouts due to the omission of ductwork, and regain valuable floor space in the cellar and on the rooftop where mechanicals used to take priority.

The completed project includes a six-story open stair, 6 bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a wine room, a movie room, a dance studio, and a roof deck with an outdoor wet bar. The interior finishes – a collaboration between Baxt Ingui and Gerard Beekman - were inspired by the original details while still allowing for a clean and more modern approach.

On the rear façade, enlarged masonry openings and exterior pocket doors help to bring in light and a sense of indoor/outdoor living to the garden and parlor floors. Restoration of the front façade was a collaboration between Baxt Ingui and local craftsmen to research and reinstall the original brownstone stoop, entry enframement, and window heads and sills. Largely working off of historical photographs, the details were created by hand in an iterative process. A cornice was installed to complete the restoration of the façade back to original before the house had been modified sometime in the 1920’s. Baxt Ingui Architects worked closely with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to approach the exterior with respect to historical context but allowing a more modern way of living.

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