Press in Curbed - Pearl Paint's Canal Street conversion finally clears Landmarks Commission by Paul Castrucci

The conversion will create eight apartments with retail at the base

BY TANAY WARERKAR  APR 4, 2017, 2:42PM EDT

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The third attempt proved to be lucky for developer Trans World Properties. After two failed attempts, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved the residential conversion of Pearl Paint’s former headquarters at 308-310 Canal Street.

When the application appeared before the Commission last week, the LPC was largely happy with the changes the architecture firm on the project, Paul Castrucci Architect, made from their previous visit to the Commission last November.

They did however have problems with the rooftop bulkheads, which they said didn’t really reduce the scale of the rooftop addition even though the architects had dropped a floor from their previous proposal.

When they first came before the Commission in November 2016, plans called for two-story additions on both buildings at 308 and 310 Canal Street. The ground floor would have retail, and there would be eight apartments located above that, spread out over the two buildings.

The Commission found the proposal to be “overwhelming” at the time, so the architect came back with a revised proposal last week. That proposal addressed most of the Commission’s concerns including reducing the rooftop addition to a single story, distinguishing the two additions on each building, and reducing the height of the addition on the Canal Street side. The bulkheads however still stuck out.

Now the architects have decided to remove the bulkheads from the roof entirely and instead place them at the back of the building on a newly constructed ridge. That in turn has also reduced the appearance of a taller addition on the Canal Street side, and the Commission was happy with the changes right off the bat.

“It’s really great that they’ve been creative with their approach, and using the sloped roof has really worked to their advantage,” Meenakshi Srinivasan, the chair of the LPC, said at the meeting.

Within a matter of minutes, the Commission had unanimously approved the changes. Now Pearl Paint’s conversion can finally move forward.

Link to original article

Press in LifeHacker - Paul A. Castrucci award winning Net Zero Project by Paul Castrucci

R-951’s apartments are large and airy, filled with crisp, bright light from giant windows. The white walls and stainless-steel appliances make the apartment feel minimalist yet cozy. Each unit is 1,500 square feet and comes with its own outdoor space, rare in much of Brooklyn.

R-951 is unique in another way. The building boasts net-zero status, which means each apartment only uses as much energy as it produces. One way it does so is through Passive House design principles, which are used to attain a high level of energy-efficiency. The methodology reduces R-951’s energy usage by about 75%. In fact, it’s the first building in New York that is both Passive House–certified and net-zero capable.

Paul Castrucci, the principal architect of the firm behind R-951, says that this energy reduction comes from three key areas: super-insulatingreducing air leaks, and recycling and recovering energy where possible. For example, the entire perimeter of the building is super-insulated, which minimizes energy loss. The doors and windows are triple-glazed and the walls and roof, as well as underneath the concrete slab, each have six inches of insulation. Buildings often lose energy through air leaks. To avoid that, the firm air-sealed the entire building and taped around doors and windows to prevent air loss.

R-951 also utilizes an energy-recovery ventilation system to recycle energy and further reduce heat loss. Since R-951 has no air leaks, there has to be a way to bring fresh air into the building — but in the winter, that air may be quite cold. A typical building “exhausts all the air from the kitchens and bathrooms,” Castrucci says, which means that a lot of valuable warm air is leaving the building. The energy-recovery ventilation system acts as a heat exchanger, and thus reduces energy loads by using this warm air in a controlled way, by way of tubes that never cross-contaminate. “There’s incoming air in a series of tubes that’s right next to the hot air that’s going out, he says. “This [system] recovers the heat going out and transfers it to the air coming in.”

In addition to addressing practical energy concerns, the apartments were designed in a thoughtful way so they are liveable and comfortable. “I think the lightness and the light colors reflect the fresh air,” Castrucci says. This balance between aesthetics and practicalities is further reflected in the apartments’ interiors. Take the wood flooring: It’s warm, rich, and modern; and it’s also sourced in a sustainable manner. Though finding this wood required a few extra phone calls and a small upcharge (less than 5%), Castrucci notes that finding responsibly grown woods is getting “easier and easier.”

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The roof has a rainwater collection system, which irrigates all the plants in the building, as well as 52 solar panels, which produce renewable energy. If there’s a power outage, residents can plug directly into these panels to heat their apartment or run their fridge.

Solar panels are a surprisingly effective way for homeowners who want to save energy but can’t spend the time or money to build a totally new house. “Solar panels make a big difference,” Castrucci says. “You have a better investment investing in [them] then you do in the stock market.”

Another accessible way all homeowners can learn from R-951 is through its appliances. Castrucci says homeowners looking to increase their home’s efficiency can look to simple things like everyday lighting. “Everyone should be using LED bulbs,” he says. EnergyStar appliances are another easy way to increase efficiency. If you are able to replace your windows, you should use “the best window that you can afford with the highest R-value” (a measure of thermal resistance and level of insulation).

R-951’s apartments all come with induction stoves. With a gas stove, only 20 to 30% of the heat is transferred to a pot. Indoor gas stoves also contribute a high amount of indoor air pollutants. “When you have a building that’s so airtight, all those indoor air pollutants [build up] and it’s not good,” he says. The electric induction stove from GE solves the problem, and 90% of the energy goes right into the pot. “You’re saving energy, and it’s a more efficient, cleaner way of cooking.”

While building a Passive House may not be achievable for everyone, smaller improvements like adding solar panels and upgrading your appliances can go a long way. Screw in a long-lasting and energy-saving GE LED light bulb, for example, and you’ll be well on your way to savings.

Nandita Raghuram is a Senior Writer at Studio@Gizmodo. She tweetshere.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between GE Lighting and Studio@Gizmodo.

Photographs by Timothy Bell. 

Link to original blog post

Community Access Art Party by Paul Castrucci

Paul Castrucci supports Community Access programs for sustainable housing for mentally ill and the homeless. Each year Community Access has an Art Party Benefit to support The Art Collective – one of NYC’s most unique art programs. As an artist and avid collector Paul Castrucci attended their signature fundraiser and networking event. Meeting with the program directors, artists, and junior board members made for a memorable event for a phenomenal cause.

Paul A. Castrucci Architect firm attended the event and interviewed staff and artists on their experiences and the importance of the community impact The Art Collective has. For many of the artists participating in the collective is a daily activity. The "artist business" hours are Monday/Tuesday 10-6pm, Wednesday 10-4pm and Friday 10-5pm.  Non members are welcome to visit, perform, and conduct workshops but are strongly encouraged to contact Amy Sharp, Art Collective Director. "The artists are often doing field trips and attending educational events," said Amy Sharp. Artist Shaka Williams was one of the most out going artists and spoke of why fierce animals and dinosaurs inspire him.  

John Smith was generous with Paul A. Castrucci and gave him a signed postcard of "Subway Ride". He is part of the Peer-to-Peer Workshop program and actively participate in the collaborative ethos of Art Collective.

Artist Susan Zelin stated on her Art Collective profile, "like John Smith said and others who watch me do my art, I’ve gotten better and better. I use to keep everything a secret and not be able to trust. Now I’m able to come out of my shell, little by little, as I grow in the Art Collective world because we are all family."  At the benefit event, one could see her confidence and she when so far as to talk about her father and how he was a photographer to the stars during the golden age of Hollywood.

Artist Lillian Harrison encouraged us to place a bid or view the works online because 60% of the proceeds go toward the artist and the rest is invested into communal art supplies. She stated, "There are no limits. You start or begin somewhere and you have no idea where it’s going to take you. "

One of the most professional and confident artists in the collective, Pablo D. Martinez, has an artistic business called Capricorn Media Productions. He has found that, "Art is a communication tool. A tool in which needs practice to master and a persistence to understand it and master it to it's most potential.

Founded in 1974, Community Access is one of the oldest and largest non-profits in NYC dedicated to helping individuals and families overcome mental illness and homelessness. The agency’s programs enable over 10,000 people every year to connect to affordable housing, job training, crisis supports, educational opportunities, and much more! Its celebrated Art Collective, established in 1988, is an artist studio and workshop that uses the power of art, creativity and self-reflection, to help individuals overcome psychiatric disabilities.

#NotOurWall : Paul Castrucci Architect firm is against the Southern Border Wall by Paul Castrucci

Wednesday morning the firm quickly and unanimously voted to take the firm pledge proposed by The Architecture Lobby.  The firm's philosophy is contrary to the spirit of the border wall as the firm consists of design professionals committed to sustainability, equity, and community.

The Architecture Lobby is calling for a national day of action on March 10th, 2017 at 4pm EST, 3pm CST, 2pm MST, 1pm PST in opposition to the building of the southwestern border wall proposed by the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security. While there are innumerable reasons to stand against the immigration policies of the current  administration and this project specifically, this call is motivated by the belief that the fields of architecture, and engineering are fundamentally rooted in a goal to improve our societies by producing structures that render them more just, more equitable, and more beautiful. The southwestern border wall stands in clear and direct opposition to this goal.

By participating in this day of action, architects and engineers will make clear not only to the current and future administrations, but also to themselves and each other, that their agency will not be exploited in the service of xenophobia, discrimination and racism. Link to full press release

FIRM PLEDGE

If your firm is against the Southern Border Wall, publicly pledge that they will not work on this project or pursue any contracts from the DHS.

Download and print the Firm Pledge and declare your firm’s commitment to  your civic and social principles!

See below to view those who have taken the firm pledge and have publicly affirmed their ethical convictions.

Lecture Series : Andy Vann for Paul Castrucci Architect at Storefront for Art and Architecture by Paul Castrucci

Manifesto Series: At Extremes

With Jordan Carver, Mitchell Joachim, Janette Kim, Lola Sheppard, Andy Vann, and Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss

Job Captain, Andy Vann (along with colleague Jordan Carver,) presented a provocative and compelling manifesto linking contemporary architectural and political acts with the social space of dissonance and violence.  Vann questioned architects’ own complicity in the unequal shaping of the modern metropolis and invited those in attendance to reflect on relevant and effective ways of confronting and fundamentally altering our speculative and exploitative urban economy.

Excerpt from press release - The condition of extremes suggests a tipping point: a moment in which a system shifts from one state to another (often unpredictable) state. 

Manifesto Series: At Extremes discusses how architecture, infrastructure, and technology negotiate limits and operate in conditions of imbalance. Do the risk/reward models prevalent on the trading floors of global financial markets and in speculative real estate projects hold up in disciplines related to design?

How can the entangled relationship between risk and extreme conditions be leveraged in a new and productive model; one that emphasizes speculation as a way to test scenarios, outcomes, and tools? What is the role of design in such contexts? To document? To redress? To mitigate? To capitalize on new opportunities? Does the progressive destabilization of political, social, and environmental conditions render design more relevant, or less so?  Link to more information

About Andy Vann

Andy Vann is an organizer, educator, parent and architect based in Brooklyn. He has taught at City Tech, City College and Columbia GSAPP.

ABC NO RIO In Progress – Demolition Phase by Paul Castrucci

ABC No Rio is now in the demolition phase. ABC No Rio's events, programs and the essence of community that it brings about continue "in exile"

The programming work ABC No Rio engages and the design work Paul Castrucci Architect are doing helps to strengthen progressive communities in response to the recent elections.  

 

Brooklyn Community Groups Co-Sponsor Town Hall Meeting by Paul Castrucci

Two important non-profit community groups, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration and Bridge Street Development Corporation, co-sponsored  the Mayor's first town hall meeting in Bed-Stuy. Brooklyn's Community Board 3 also co-sponsored and various representatives of city agencies also attended and give opening remarks or where on hand to address audience questions.  A representative of Paul A. Castrucci Architect attended to support the community groups an to ask critical questions on the state of affordable and sustainable housing in Brooklyn. 

Mayor Bill De Blasio with Council member Robert Cornegy Jr as moderator

Mayor Bill De Blasio with Council member Robert Cornegy Jr as moderator

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Congrats to Wendy Brawer : Meet the Spring 2017 class of TED Residents by Paul Castrucci

Long time friend and partner for award winning R-951 Pacific Residence, Wendy Brawer, joined the ranks of the TED Residency program. Wendy Brawer is Green Map System's Founder and Director. Brawer created the first Green Map of New York City in 1992. Since then, she has published nearly 20 interactive and printed Green Maps. Wendy initiated the global Green Map System in 1995 and continues to lead its development as it spread to 65+ countries. She is an accomplished educator and has taught at NYU, Cooper Union and presented at more than 50 universities and conferences. Her accolades includes being Designer in Residence, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, an Utne Visionary, a Woman of Earth/Terre de Femmes and recipient of a Sea Change Award.

On March 6, TED welcomed its latest class to the TED Residency program. As an in-house incubator for breakthrough ideas, Residents spend four months in the TED office with other exceptional people from all over the map. Each has a project that promises to make a significant contribution to the world, across several different fields. 

The new Residents include:

  • A technologist working on app to promote world peace
  • An entrepreneur whose packaging business wants to break America’s addiction to plastic
  • A documentarian profiling young people of color grappling with mental-health challenges
  • A journalist telling the stories of families and friends affected by deportation
  • A programmer who wants to teach kids how to code … without computers
  • A writer-photographer chronicling the lives of Chinese takeout workers in New York City
  • A scientist studying an easier path to deeper sleep

At the end of the program, Residents have the opportunity to give a TED Talk about their work and ideas in the theater at TED HQ. Link to original article 

New York–based designer Wendy Brawer is the creator of the Green Map, a tool that uses distinctive iconography to denote green-living, natural, social, and cultural resources. Locally led in 65 countries, GreenMap.org will soon relaunch with a new, open approach to inspire greater action on climate health and environmental justice among residents and travelers alike.

Networking + Educational Event : New York Passive House EnterPhit Meet-up by Paul Castrucci

Meet the Expert Series: EnerPHit Session

At the Urban Green Council

Meet the Experts is a new series by NYPH to promote the exchange of much needed knowledge and expertise on topics related to the high performance building standard. Some topics that will be explored include passive house retrofits, passive house performance, HVACs, passive house financing, etc. 

This session provided an in-depth look into three different EnerPHit projects in NYC. Speakers will share their experiences certifying to EnerPHit, discuss available feedback from occupants, and share biggest hurdles and creative solutions. A Q&A session will follow after the panel presentation.

Speakers:

• Amy Shakespeare (Redtop Architects) 

• Michael Ingui (Baxt Ingui Architects) 

• Stas Zakrzewski (zh-Architects)

The firm enjoys partnering with New York Passive House. In the fall (date to be determined) Paul Castrucci Architect will participate in a Meet the Experts Series.

6sqft Press : Design Phase/Pending Approval for 312-322 CANAL STREET by Paul Castrucci

If you’ve walked down Chinatown’s Canal Street then you’re certainly familiar with a string of stores at 312-322 Canal Street hawking cheap souvenirs to tourists and passersby. After a proposal to renew the depressed stretch of shops with a brand-new brick construction failed to pass Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) muster in 2011, a new, much more ambitious plan to replace the ramshackle building has finally emerged.

Once again drawn up by architect Paul A. Castrucci, the new iteration would rise as a nine-story, multi-family property with retail at its base. Moreover, the structure would also be a Passive House construction, similar to Castrucci’s other buildings, 951 Pacific Street and ABC No Rio. As with any Passive House, the residence will be primarily heated by passive solar gain and internal gains (from people or electrical equipment) with the aim of cutting energy costs by 90 percent.

By comparison, Castrucci’s first proposal shut down by Landmarks was largely a more polished version of the existing structure, accented with aluminum-framed storefronts and awnings. The LPC called it “sad” and “neither here nor there,” among other things.

The property is sited on the edge of the East Tribeca Historic District, and according to CityRealty, its units will likely be designated as rentals. They add that Castrucci’s simple red-brick design aims to blend in with the neighborhood, rather than stand out. “The project enters into a critical dialogue with its surrounding context,” writes the architect on his website. “The façade’s repetition recalls some of the underlying structural rhythms of the historical district’s notable palazzo-style, cast-iron facades, but avoids replicating or reproducing their forms, details or material choices.”

In terms of its Passive House specs, the building will use high-efficiency heat pumps to condition the interior units, while ERVs (energy recovery ventilators) will supply apartments with filtered and conditioned fresh air. The prefabricated exterior brick panels will also be backed with a four-inch layer of insulation complemented by a layer of mineral wool, which when combined with Passive House-certified windows, will make for an air-tight building.

Although Castrucci has the project prominently featured on his site, official permits have yet to be filed. As CityRealty tells us, the property remains plagued with fines and stop-work orders that stem from illegal repair work done in 2010.

CITYREALTY Press : Design Phase/Pending Approval for 312-322 CANAL STREET by Paul Castrucci

CITYREALTY, "Nine-Story Passive House May Be Replacing Decrepit Stretch of Retail at 312-322 Canal Street"

By SANDRA HERRERA

The stretch of stores on 312-322 Canal Street is finally being revisited by Paul A. Castrucci Architect after the team's first proposal was denied by the Landmark Preservation Commission in 2011. Back then, the plan was to keep the retail but the design was deemed too bland for the lively area. This time around, their design is a for a residential, multi-family project that is slated to become Passive House-certified, much like their other buildings at 951 Pacific Street and ABC No Rio. Passive House principles stipulate that buildings must be primarily heated by passive solar gain and internal gains from people or electrical equipment, which saves up to 90% of space heating costs.

The proposed project will rise nine stories in the East Tribeca Historical District and will likely be rentals. According to Castrucci's site, the facade's repetition recalls the district's "notable palazzo-style, cast-iron facades, but avoids replicating or reproducing their forms, details, or material choices." In an attempt to fit in with the area, the firm chose practicality and utility over extravagance and went with a standard red-brick facade. The Passive House will have optimized energy consumptions with high-efficiency heat pumps to condition the interior units on an individual basis, while Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) will supply the apartments with filtered and conditioned fresh air. The virtually air-tight building will feature exterior brick panels backed with 4" layer of insulation.

Although permits have yet to be filed, this sad brick row of 2-story buildings is begging for a change. Illegal repair work was done to the storefronts in 2010 without the approval from the LPC and the site is plagued by past-due fines and stop-work orders. This isn't the firm's first time around the block either - literally. Paul A. Castrucci Architect also got denied by the LPC for their residential proposal next door at 308 and 310 Canal Street.

Tribeca Citizen Press : Design Phase/Pending Approval for 312-322 Canal Street by Paul Castrucci

Tribeca Citizen, "Rendering for a New Nine-Story Building on Canal Street"

There has been talk for a while about a new building at 312-322 Canal, currently the site of a wide, two-story retail building. The conventional wisdom, as espoused by a member of the Community Board 1 Landmarks Committee back in November, was that the project was on hold till the real estate market heated back up.

Perhaps not. City Realty has details on the current plan, which is for a nine-story building, most likely rental apartments, with a façade of red brick. The developer is presumably still Trans World Equities.

The stretch of stores on 312-322 Canal Street is finally being revisited by Paul A. Castrucci Architect after the team’s first proposal was denied by the Landmark Preservation Commission in 2011. Back then, the plan was to keep the retail but the design was deemed too bland for the lively area. This time around, their design is a for a residential, multi-family project that is slated to become Passive House–certified, [meaning it] must be primarily heated by passive solar gain and internal gains from people or electrical equipment, which saves up to 90% of space heating costs.

Here’s the rendering. No plans have been filed yet, and the project will be subject to Landmarks Preservation Commission approval.

In-process : 158 Clifton Residence by Paul Castrucci

The 158 Clifton Residence is a two family row house project by the SawKill Lumber Company. The owner and founder, Alan Soloman, is gearing up the row house for living as well as collaborating with Paul Castrucci Architect. The building will be one of Brooklyn's only near Net Zero energy retrofits that will be a place of residence and on the top level host architectural educational events, green design salons and a contemporary 'wunderkammer' for objects made of reclaimed wood. Alan Soloman is excited to show the multiplicity of repurposed wood and the possiblities of sustainable design .    

Featured on the front facade is Douglas Fir from Worcestershire Sauce tanks reclaimed from NJ. The old growth woods were recovered from , and milled into 5” & 7” clapboard. The ebonized facade is characteristic of the Japanese fire treatment technique, Shou Sughi Ban,  that dates to the 1700’s and serves as a modern application, furthering the exterior performance of a sustainable material, and producing a subtle and dramatic silhouette of the underlying virgin Douglas Fir figure. 

Details of top floor a space for educational events.

In-process Sustainable & Affordable Housing : 544 East 13th St, New York NY by Paul Castrucci

Sustainable and affordable housing is a critical part of our practice. For more than two decades the firm has engaged in educating the public and increasing awareness on this essential type of housing. The firm is pleased to present two current sustainable and affordable housing projects in the East Village community. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development.  

544 East 13th Street is a gut renovation project in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York.  Our design team often engages in a participatory design process with the existing tenants, many of whom had lived in their spaces for more than 20 years.  The firm with developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development the firm is incorporating Passive House design techniques.  Currently the firm is preparing the building's air tight construction with improved insulation and windows have arrived and to be installed soon.

In-process Sustainable & Affordable Housing : 377 East 10th St, New York NY by Paul Castrucci

Sustainable and affordable housing is an essential part of our practice for more than twenty years. The firm is pleased to present two current sustainable and affordable housing projects in the East Village community. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development.  

377 East 10th Street is a gut renovation project in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York.  Our design team engaged in a participatory design process with the existing tenants, many of whom had lived in their spaces for more than 20 years.  Through a series of one on one meetings with the tenants, their ideas and spatial needs were incorporated into the project.  

The building is being adapted to meet the Passive House EnerPHit and Enterprise Green Communities standards. The firm is incorporating Passive House design techniques such as air tight construction, improved insulation and windows, and energy recovery ventilation, the buildings are made truly sustainable and truly affordable. 

Inside the Dinsmore-Chestnut RFP Pre-submission Conference : One of the most Influential Development Projects In Brooklyn Post-2017 by Paul Castrucci

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is inviting developers to submit proposals for a new construction project in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. 

The site is owned by the City of New York and is located within Community District 5 on Block 4142, Part of Lot 32, which is bounded by Atlantic Avenue, Chestnut Street, and Dinsmore Place. HPD wants the project to have affordable housing that meets the economic needs of the community and the city as a whole.  During the pre-submission conference HPD representatives insisted that development teams that incorporate Community Visioning Workshop Report, sustainable design and achieve Enterprise Green Communities Certification would be prioritized.  

The Community Visioning Workshop Report summary of findings:

  • Affordable housing may include multi-family, senior, and/or supportive housing. 
  • The Development must also include quality commercial and/or community facility uses.
  • Incorporate a green roof and support urban agriculture.
  • Integrate local arts and artists into the building design and public spaces.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is aiming to generate 200 affordable apartment on this East New York half-acre site and in 2016 the site under a controversial rezoning according to Crain's New York Business reporter Joe Anuta.  The city-owned lot has been vacant for decades depressing the local economy and well being of the community.  Paul A. Castrucci Architect firm's philosophy supports the Community Visioning Workshop Report and the city's development goals as outlined in the request for proposal : Equity, Economy and Environment. 

ABC NO RIO Moving forward with programs in "exile" : next phase in construction by Paul Castrucci

ABC No Rio is embarking on a new phase. The summer of 2016 became a pivoting moment as programming at the Rivington Street space shifted to alternative locations and the staff prepares for demolition and new construction.

ABC No Rio's events, programs and the essence of community that it brings about continue "in exile".  In this transitional period, creates an opportunity for a renewed focus towards collaborative work that brings them back to their roots. ABC No Rio was founded as a project of the 1970s artist group called Collaborative Projects.  The spirit of collaboration will enable people to continue sharing resources and ideas in this atmosphere of change and mutual support.

The construction phase highlights the importance of the city's artist-run community spaces. The programming work ABC No Rio engages and the design work Paul Castrucci Architect are doing helps to strengthen progressive communities in response to the recent elections.  ABC No Rio has been responding to the times we live in since the space was founded 36 years ago.  The lost felt of not being able to operate in their space, to express themselves as they once did and nourish their creative environment has created momentum for ABC No Rio to take the spirit of creating community to other sister institutions.

Before leaving the building, ABC No Rio celebrated their 36 anniversary in their "old home". In June, they presented two final exhibitions: InFinite Futures and The Past Will be Present. Infinite Futures involved eighteen artists with a historical connection to No Rio. Each artist was invited to create installations imaging the site in five, fifty or five hundred years in the future. The Past Will Be Present included four photographers who documented the spaces and textures of No Rio's building and the people working within it.

The last month in the space had a series of sold out weekly hardcore/punk matinees. Punks of different generations danced, sang and cried together as they bid farewell to the tenement where they came of age and found their political and creative voices.  The last COMA improv session in their "old home" was an extended evening of short sets both inside and out, involving almost fifty musicians playing solo, in duets and in ensemble. ABC No Rio's programs "will be - and are - continuing in exile". For example, the hardcore/punk matinees continue at "Do It Yourself" venues in other boroughs. The zine library moved to another local and historical community space, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center. The visual art program will be hosted in various galleries around the city. This movement creates opportunity for ABC No Rio to work closely with other artist groups/collectives. Their collaboration with Flux Factory, an artist-run residency space in Queens, cultivates a spirit co-operation over competition and becomes an exploration of mutual aid.

Image: Satellite view of ABC No Rio and Paul A. Castrucci Architect headquarters. One minute walk and neighborhood. 

Image: Satellite view of ABC No Rio and Paul A. Castrucci Architect headquarters. One minute walk and neighborhood. 

Paul A. Castrucci Architect and ABC No Rio anticipate demolition plans to be approved soon and to begin in early 2017. The journey so far has not been without challenging moments for both the firm and ABC No Rio.  The city gave ABC No Rio the opportunity to raise the money to develop the site and with a supportive community response the city signed over the deed in 2006.  In 2014, ABC No Rio moved the project over to the City's Economic Development Corporation. The city realized that greater flexibility in project management and administration was better suited to fit the unique aspects of this construction. In 2016, they received an additional $750,000 from the Mayor and the Department of Cultural Affairs. The bids came back a lot higher than available funding. Most recently, asbestos was found on the roof. 

Current circumstances test the artist run space and remind its community of ABC No Rio's origins. The ABC No Rio artist community was culled from a creative action by local artists who never dreamed that breaking into the building to protest the city's real estate policies would lead to this moment.  During the course of transforming the space and creating community ABC No Rio has overcome years of eviction attempts and the gentrification moment. 

Support and donations remain important in the next phase of construction.

ABC No Rio is a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions to ABC No Rio are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Consult your tax advisor with any tax-related queries.

                       Thank you for your support

                       Thank you for your support

Press: Tribeca East Historic District proposal featured in YIMBY by Paul Castrucci

Former Pearl Paint Building’s Redevelopment Stalled At Landmarks

by Evan Bindelglass for New York YIMBY

Pearl Paint, an icon at the northern edge of TriBeCa, closed over two years ago, pushed out because the rent was too high. The larger of its buildings, at 304-306 Canal Street, is already under redevelopment. Now, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is overseeing the redevelopment of 308-310 Canal Street. The agency held a public hearing on it last Tuesday, but no approval was granted.

308-310 Canal Street, 2016 and as proposed

308-310 Canal Street, 2016 and as proposed

308 Canal Street and 310 Canal Street are both four-story, through-block, store and loft buildings. 308 is Italianate in style and was constructed between 1864 and 1865. It also occupies the address 55 Lispenard Street. 310 is taller, neo-Grec in style, was designed by John J. Devoe, Jr., and built in 1879. It also occupies the address 53 Lispenard Street, and is wider on that side. They both fell under the LPC’s jurisdiction when the Tribeca East Historic District was designated in 1992.

308-310 Canal Street, existing and proposed

308-310 Canal Street, existing and proposed

The proposal for the pair is to add two stories on top to allow retail on the first floor and eight residential units above. There would be two apartments per floor on the second, third, and fourth floors, and two duplex would span the fifth and sixth floors. Grayson Jordan of Paul A. Castrucci’s Lower East Side-based architecture firm presented the proposal.

The rear (Lispenard Street) fire escape would be removed from 308 Canal Street. The façades of both buildings would be cleaned up, as would the cast iron and cornices. The storefronts would be set back 18 inches, to better reveal the cast iron columns. 308, famously white with red accents, would be treated in the same brick color as 310, with the storefront, fire escapes, and cornice in blue. The rooftop additions would be done in zinc.

Commissioner Kim Vauss said she has fond memories of shopping at Pearl Paint. “It’s a sad thing,” she said of the closure. She also lamented the loss of some of the area’s grittiness. As for the actual proposal, she applauded the restoration.

Commissioner Adi Shamir-Baron called the new storefronts “fancier,” but said they make sense.

A big sticking point for many of the commissioners was the proposed two-story rooftop addition. Commissioner Jeanne Lutfy called it “overwhelming.” While some believed a two-story addition was possible, many believed a single-story addition would be more appropriate.

Manhattan Community Board 1 also disapproved of the addition, but endorsed the restoration work.

“While the window replacements are a vast improvement, HDC finds much of this application to be troubling. Though currently in poor shape, much surviving historic material exists at the storefronts to provide a road map for a more sensitive approach,” testified Barbara Zay of the Historic Districts Council. “Our committee felt that at the very least they should include more substantial bulkheads and that it would be best to avoid floor-to-ceiling glass. While we could imagine a one-story rooftop addition being acceptable here, the proposed addition is way too big for this building, making the entire façade appear quite top-heavy in the renderings. A better choice of materials would also go a long way toward making the addition more acceptable.”

In the end, the commissioners took no action. The applicant will have to re-work the proposal and return to the LPC, possibly with new options for both one- and two-story additions.

View the full presentation slides here:


Open House Event: 158 Clifton Place, Brooklyn by Paul Castrucci

For the 13th International Passive House Days Paul A. Castrucci, RA and Grayson Jordan, RA gave guided open house tour of 158 Clifton Place, Brooklyn on Friday,  November 11 at 1 p.m. The architects held an educational event on site for builders, engineers, architects, developers, affordable homeowners and green building enthusiasts to learn more about this Passive House retro-fit (EnerPhit). This Brooklyn project is of an 1887 wooden row house, and is located in the historic Clinton Hill neighborhood. In addition to Passive House construction, the project will feature a 7.5 kW solar array and reclaimed wood on the exterior facades and throughout the interior. 

 Partners for this project include, The Right Environments, SawKill Lumber and Blue Line Construction.

Open House Event: 377 East 10th Street, Manhattan by Paul Castrucci

For 13th International Passive House Days Paul A. Castrucci, RA and Jaime Alvarez, RA gave a guided open house tour of 377 East 10th Street in the East Village on Friday,  November 11 at 3:30 p.m. The architects held a discussion on site for builders, engineers, architects, developers, affordable homeowners and green building enthusiasts to learn more about the project. This New York Passive House open house tour focused on how the firm is implementing Passive House construction and addressing the neighborhood demand for affordable housing.  Reduction in energy use is critical to maintaining affordable housing, where residents may already be financially challenged.

This is a Passive House retro-fit of a pre-1900 six story tenement.  The building was adapted to meet the Passive House EnerPHit and Enterprise Green Communities standards. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development.