A Condo Inspired by Japanese Aesthetics

March 22, 2019

The 12-story building that will replace the Church of the Redeemer in Boerum Hill borrows from Japanese architecture and gardens.

 

 

The Church of the Redeemer, which was built in 1866 in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill, mirrored the Gothic style of medieval churches in Europe. The condominium building rising in its place, however, looks toward Japan for inspiration.

 

Ryoko Okada, a principal and director of interior architecture and design at ODA New York, said she tapped into the Japanese aesthetics of “wabi-sabi,” or the art of finding beauty in imperfection, when designing 561 Pacific.

 

“It’s about finding natural materials that have an unconscious aesthetic,” she said of the many warm brown and gray materials she chose. The wood, stone, concrete and steel used in the interior all have knots and grains with very subtle imperfections, some of which will also change over time, she said. “It’s about celebrating what’s naturally incomplete.”

 

Ms. Okada, a native of Japan, said the wooden slats found in the entryway of the 63-unit building resembles “koshi,” or wooden lattice entryways and window coverings found in traditional wooden townhouses in Japan called “machiya.” It allows some light in, but also keeps the entryway private, Ms. Okada said.

 

The hallway in the ground-level lobby lounge is made with light gray concrete-look porcelain tile, with dark solid wood and metal inlays separating each slab. This is inspired by “tobi-ishi,” or steppingstone, and “roji,” a lush, garden path that leads to a teahouse.

 

Both are Japanese design features that make you consciously focus on where you are walking and block the outer world.

“I thought it would be great if residents can use the same thought process, where you can consciously start decompressing from the outside chaos when you get home,” Ms. Okada said.

 

The building is in a particularly hectic area, just a block from the major traffic intersection of Atlantic, Flatbush and Fourth Avenues, and close to the Barclays Center and the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center shopping complexes.

 

Developed by Adam America Real Estate, the 12-story building will offer studios from $550,000, one-bedrooms from $850,000, two bedrooms from $1.375 million, and three-bedrooms from $2.275 million. Over a third of the apartments will come with private outdoor space. Sales start later this month.

 

Building amenities include a gym, a playroom, a rooftop sun deck with barbecue and dining stations, and bike storage. Sixteen parking spaces will be available for purchase for $150,000 each.

 

The building, expected to be finished early next year, will also have about 7,000-square-feet of ground floor retail space available.

 

Like other parts of the city, the Brooklyn condominium market was slower in the fall and winter months, but the mood has been rather upbeat from the start of the year, said Brendan Aguayo, senior vice president and a director at Halstead Property Development Marketing, the firm in charge of sales. Mr. Aguayo said he has seen a large increase in traffic, demand and deal velocity as interest rates have stabilized.

 

“Brooklyn condominium buyers are very sophisticated,” Mr. Aguayo said, noting their desire for “everything,” including high-end interior finishes, proximity to transportation and a vibrant neighborhood.

 

Being within easy walking distance to Park Slope, Fort Greene, Gowanus and Downtown Brooklyn will likely appeal to many buyers, Mr. Aguayo said.

 

“I think this building is on the forefront of the shift happening on Fourth Avenue and the renaissance of this corridor,” he said, referring to an anticipated rezoning of nearby Gowanus.

 

“Wabi-sabi embraces the imperfect and accepts that change happens,” Ms. Okada said when describing the building’s Japanese design inspiration. It’s a notion that works extremely well for a calm, welcoming home, but is undoubtedly hard for some neighbors to swallow as their immediate surrounding gets denser.

 

For those nostalgic for the Episcopal church that once stood here, one relic remains. A well-preserved mosaic tile that signaled the prominence of the church, which closed in 2010, still exists in the northwest subway exit on the corner of Pacific and Fourth Avenue.

 

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