The building at 253 Pacific reclaims a narrow space of 25 feet wide by 100 feet long (the building is 65 ft deep) that was once occupied by a one-story car garage. Though the site seems quite compact, the units’ interiors feel spacious and airy given the high ceilings and incredible abundance of natural light.
Inside, floor to ceiling windows and a smart allocation of space allow light to pour through the building, even into the deepest corners. James Cleary Architecture wanted to be sure that no artificial lighting would be needed during the day. Once the sun goes down, most of the lighting is either LED or CFL. Small details such as the cutout between the kitchen and the stairs better enable communication between spaces and those individuals inhabiting them, providing an opportunity for unexpected experiences and conversations.
Each of the three units boasts its own private outdoor space — something rarely afforded to those who opt to live in NYC. The lucky penthouse owner gets a green roof planted with flowers and other flora that are local and drought resistant. So even if the occupant of this space ends up being black thumb, he or she can rest easy knowing that it’s foolproof and will flourish.
Window boxes at the front of the structure play several roles: to block the sun, to add plants to the facade, and to emphasize the rich palette of materials used in the construction. Overall, the design beautifully balances a fresh, modern aesthetic with Cobble Hill’s traditional brownstone and brick vernacular.
Not only a beautiful construction outside and in, the design of 253 Pacific is sustainable to boot. From the offset the building’s environmental footprint was placed at the heart of the design, and upping the green aspects was very important to both the developer and the architect.
To keep the building’s HVAC energy consumption to a minimum the structure is tightly buttoned up with plenty of insulation employed throughout. The front and rear walls are steel stud walls designed and built to avoid thermal bridging — the walls use both rigid and spray in insulation and have an R value of 47.5. The long side walls of the building are poured concrete, and insulating concrete forms (ICF’s) is used to obtain an R value of 20 in these areas. In addition to a green roof, the roof has 6″ of rigid insulation and R values of 32. Windows and doors that penetrate these walls all have thermally broken frames and high performance glazing. Overall the building is estimated to be a considerable 35-50% more efficient than a comparative structure of its size!
Recycled materials are used wherever possible and include 800 cubic yards of structural concrete that contains 24% fly ash, rebar (all 135 tons of it) of 98% recycled content, countertops fabricated using recycled glass, and the zinc facade requires very little energy to produce, is recyclable, and has an extremely long life span. Energy efficient appliances and fixtures are also installed to reduce energy and water usage. The building is LEED Gold rated.
Photos: © James Cleary