Brooklyn, NY, US

The Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District (DBCD), a new mixed-use BAM South building will define the gateway to BAM and the new cultural district, and create a new street-level civic space. Occupying the south portion of a triangular site at the intersection of Flatbush, Ashland, and Lafayette Avenues in downtown Brooklyn, the slim footprint of the building leaves most of the site to a new 15,000 square foot public plaza. The building base is a series of exterior, terraced levels that create an active, urban and public experience along Flatbush.

These terraces will be landscaped so as to screen the traffic noise from Flatbush and create a strong visual connection to the Grand Plaza. With several public entrances, the porous building aims to facilitate an easy flow of people into and out of the cultural and retail spaces. In addition, the stepped topography of the plaza can be used for outdoor programming, such as film screenings and dance performances or farmer’s markets.

The first few floors of the tower consist of 50,000 square feet for cultural tenants, such as the performing arts organization 651 Arts, Brooklyn Academy of Music cinemas, and a new branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The tower will also house retail space and rental apartments, 25% of which are affordable housing.

As an elevated extension of the public walk, the plaza affords the community and cultural spaces with “street level” entries and the necessary public access to ensure their vibrancy. Additionally, folding the civic plaza upwards allows the retail to line the full perimeter of the base, avoiding an internalized “mall organization.” With activity to 360-degrees of the site, the design connects all spaces and programs to the city around.

Credit: TEN Arquitectos/Enrique Norten with ASA/Andrea Steele