Bushwick Gem Architecture Building
Bushwick Gem, designed by BEAM Architects, replaced a beloved Victorian home with a rich history that prompted local activists and community leaders to advocate for historical preservation. Committed to respecting the local community, the design aims to integrate naturally with the neighborhood while simultaneously enhancing the area’s modernity.
The façade features strategically placed horizontal brick reveals on each floor to add visual interest and break up the blank spaces created by the windowless bathrooms positioned along the exterior walls. In addition, the balconies have been widened near these areas to further help alleviate any sense of bareness. The design also cleverly conceals the parking lot, creating the illusion of an enclosed ground floor by tinting the windows and incorporating returns on the walls near neighboring properties at the ground level.
The façade was originally designed with specialty limestone finish stucco and traditional brick, but due to COVID-related price fluctuations, the brick had to be replaced with Newbrick, Dryvit’s engineered brick solution. Due to time constraints, a slightly darker stock color was used and counterbalanced with lighter mortar to achieve the desired effect.
The lobby was substantially enlarged during construction by reconfiguring the parking spaces. However, this came at a cost: the plumbing and mechanical systems were already installed and were not designed to be within a lobby. The space is designed to cater to a variety of needs. It encompasses a dedicated mail and package area, a versatile workspace, and a comfortable lounge that invites unexpected encounters. We redesigned the lobby to conceal the systems and to justify the seemingly odd placement of columns. Soffits and benches were designed around the pipes and ductwork, and the columns were optimized to divide the space into a lounge, mailroom, and workstations.
The concrete slabs were polished to expose the aggregate, giving them the appearance of terrazzo. Meticulous coordination with ownership, the contractor, and the mechanical engineer resulted in maximum ceiling heights and optimal lighting, creating elegant yet functional living spaces.