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Reflection Paper about master dissertation project in Red Hook, NYC for the International Master of Architecture 2017-2018 at KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture, Campus Sint-Lucas, Gent

This publication presents a combination of research and analysis to build up my project, with a reflection about the architectural project itself. It is an attempt on showing what the challenges and opportunities of the site are and how the proposed architecture utilizes these elements. Brought as a coherent story, this publication offers an insight into the progress, and outcome of my master dissertation project. Cover image By Rostislav Krones The following people contributed and guided the development of this project and publication: Kris Scheerlinck Martine De Maeseneer Gitte Schreurs

Layout & Editing: Rostislav Krones Printed & bounded by: Reproduct NV Voskenslaan 205 9000 Gent

This project was developed for the master dissertation project, within the project of Streetscape Territories, Red Hook. proposed by Kris Scheerlinck

Proofreading: Oleksandra Tsesko All rights reserved under International Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photo-copying, recording or by any information storage retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or specific copyright owners. Work and publication made during the course of a personal master dissertation project.

KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture Campus Sint-Lucas, Ghent Class of 2017-2018

Š2018 by Rostislav Krones Contact Rostislav Krones Kadov 46 592 03 Kadov Czech Republic

Streetscape Territories Streerscape Territories is the name given to an international research and design project that deals with the way buildings an properties are related to street and how their inhabitants can give meaning to them.







ABSTRACT This paper and developed design aim to address several closely connected issues which Red Hook is currently and more importantly in the future will be facing – housing problem, floods and gentrification.

new projects of luxury apartments are built. Similar projects do not put a sufficient number of affordable housing units on the market which are demanding in the area.

My primary focus is on affordable housing in the area which is a problem of last years. The prediction is that Red Hook will double its population in following ten years. A big part of all inhabitants is single mothers who are currently living mostly in insufficient NYCHA housing project. Together with the relatively young population, it frames my target group.

The strategy of my proposal is to show three ways of dealing with housing problem in such a specific area as Red Hook. Each of which is using different starting points for design (reuse of the vacant building, an extension of existing building and empty plot).

Red Hook is specific because of its location on the waterfront and mainly with the topography not much higher than sea level. This fact puts the neighbourhood in the problematic position of everlasting floods danger. It was one of the leading influencers of the housing proposal. We can already see signs of gentrification in the northwest area, where art community is allocated, and

I would like to reconsider a proposal of Harvey Wiley Corbett who saw NYC as the city of modern Venice with arcaded sidewalks above the existing street grade. He aimed to separate people from traffic, and I see this idea as very contemporary in today’s NYC. Even though I believe that the ground is where people belong and we should give them the opportunity to use it with no spatial restriction I see that current situation of rising sea level can force us to shape public domain in a different way of elevated sidewalks with water instead of cars underneath.

„We see a city of sidewalks, arcaded within the building lines, and one story above the present street grade.“ Harvey Wiley Corbett Delirious New York, Rem Koolhaas, 1997

Figure 01

How You May Live and Travel in the City of 1950; Popular Science Monthly, August 1925, p.41



GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO RED HOOK Red Hook neighbourhood is allocated on a peninsula situated in the south-west of Brooklyn, NYC. The area is bounded by four elements acting as limits. The most defining one is Gowanus Expressway to the north which cut off Red Hook from the rest of Brooklyn. Three others are bodies of water – Buttermilk Channel to the west, Upper New York Bay to the south and Gowanus Canal to the east. We can see a specific division of the neighbourhood. There is a more productive part which is situated on the east next to the Gowanus Canal. We can find here plenty of warehouses as well as old grain terminal of NYPA. Next to this part to the west, there is more leisure area with Red Hook Ballfields and Red Hook Recreation Center which contains a swimming pool. Above this part, to the north in the centre of the neighbourhood, we can find Coffey Park with the most massive complex of social housing in Brooklyn which accommodates nearly 6,000 residents. Almost the whole west part is dedicated to a housing of a smaller scale, and we can find there Van Brunt Street which is the busiest street in Red Hook. There are several more places which are significant mainly for New Yorkers living outside of the neighbourhood, and they contribute to the awareness of the area. First of them is Tesla showroom which is located to the very north tip of Red Hook. There is Formula-E competition happening every year in the nearby lot. Not so far from the showroom to the west we can find Pier 12 with The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal around which there is every year cycling competition called Red Hook Crit. Another significant place is Pioneer works which lay to the south from the cruise terminal. It is a cultural centre which is dedicated mainly to art and experiments. Then there are two big stores on the south of Red Hook – IKEA and Fairway Market. The last thing to mention is the ‚hook‘ from which comes the name of the neighbourhood. It is located on the very south of Red Hook, and it is significant especially from an aerial view. Nowadays, we can find their hundreds of retracted vehicles because it serves as police parking lot. Red Hook is home to several brands and offices. We can find there manufacturers of Sixpoint Brewery beers, Steve‘s Key Lime Pies, Widow Jane and Dry Dock whiskies. These producers are located around Van Brunt Street in the art area, and they highlight the ongoing gentrification of the neighbourhood. 10

Figure 02

Aerial view of Red Hook;


HISTORY OF RED HOOK The neighbourhood was established as the Dutch village named Roode Hoek in 1636 on the land called „The Island of Manhattes“ which was sold in 1626 by Native Americans to Dutch merchant Pieter Schage. It was one of the first areas settled in future Brooklyn. The name of the peninsula comes from its red clay soil and unique artificially built shape which protect docked ships from changes of water level caused by tidal changes. This „hook“ extension allows large ships to dock and unload goods along the waterfront. In the mid 19th century, the neighbourhood started to grow into one of the busiest shipping centres in the US. This success led to the development of a street grid which connected Red Hook‘s piers and docks with the rest of South Brooklyn. In the early half of the 20th-century piers in Red Hook are busy with unloaded cargo from all over the world. Docks are giving work to thousands of workers, mainly immigrants from Italy and Ireland. During these years, Red Hook was considered a dangerous, polyglot place in the 1920s and 1930s. It was a good site for an H. P. Lovercraft (former resident) horror story and the fear of foul play in Thomas Wolfe‘s Only the Dead Know Brooklyn1. Between the years 1929 – 1939 NYCHA Red Hook Houses are built to accommodate nearly 6,000 workers and their families. This fact is one of the reasons why in 1950 Red Hook population hits 21,000. The breaking point of the neighbourhood was changing from bulk shipping to container shipping in the 1960s. This change brings the community to economic stagnation, and many workers lost their jobs. This fact opened doors of the neighbourhood to many criminals, and since 1970s Red Hook is desolated by becoming „a nest of crime“. In July 1988 Life magazine named Red Hook as one of the „worst“ neighbourhoods in the US and as „the crack capital of America.“2 The year 2012 brings hurricane Sandy which completely devastated the whole neighbourhood. These days, there are no signs of it anymore. S. Zukin, Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 164. Available from: Amazon Digital Services LLC, (accessed 28 April 2018).


Red Hook Justice movie site,[website], 2005, https://www.pbs. org/independentlens/redhookjustice/redhook.html, (accessed 28 April 2018).



Figure 03

New York and Brooklyn; ca. 1875, Parsons & Atwater,



Figure 04

Bartlett & Greene‘s free and bonded warehouses and elevators; ca. 1880, Endicott & Co, P.,


NATIVE AMERICANS inhabit most of the mainland

Native Americans sell ‘the Island of Manhattes‘ to a Dutch merchant Pieter Schage (West India Company) Native Americans ‘sold‘ to EUROPEAN SETTLERS; they remain slaves for many generations Red Hook settled by DUTCH IMMIGRANTS Fort Defiance is constructed making Red Hook a strategic military point BRITISH military occupation of NY metropolitan area

The City of Brooklyn begins to upgrade infrastructure – creates Most of coastal infrastructure built by entrepreneurs

Brooklyn is annexed to form a borough of the m

Red Hook becomes the busiest shippin

The area was poor and the site The Great Depression




1934 – 1968

1936 – 1964

1929 – 1939






1776 – 1783


1636 – 1776




Figure 05

Red Hook history timeline; data provided by Aditi Kumar


s streets and fills in all the ponds and other low-lying areas

modern ‘City of New York‘

ng port in the world with majority of ITALIAN and IRISH AMERICAN dockworkers

e of the current Red Hook houses was inhabited by homeless

Hook Houses are built to accommodate almost 6,000 inhabitants

klyn-Queens Expressway is built and Red Hook is cut off from the rest of Brooklyn Red Hook population hits 21,000 residents Container transport replaces more traditional bulk shipping Red Hook is desolated by becoming ‘a nest of crime‘ HISPANIC community starts to grow Increase in Latin American immigration The first art community starts to grow in Red Hook White families move in – the first signs of gentrification in Red Hook Principal Patric Daly was killed in the drug-related shooting The Brooklyn Cruise terminal opens at Pier 12 IKEA Brooklyn built in Red Hook NY Water Taxi expands to Red Hook






2005 – 2006






1970s – 1980s


Hurricane Sandy occurs

RED HOOK TODAY Today‘s Red Hook is shaped by several elements which are giving a unique feeling to the whole neighbourhood. The area is hardly accessible from the rest of Brooklyn since 1968 when Gowanus Expressway was finished. This fact is opening rare opportunity to preserve the district from further development. Since only two buses are passing by and nearest subway stations are beyond the limits of the area one can find just residents on the streets, especially during work days. During weekends, one can see more people from outside of the neighbourhood coming to relax to the waterfront or to visit local IKEA store. However, lack of public transport is also a significant disadvantage to all residents, especially the ones from NYCHA Houses. Despite this, there is plenty of turnouts (mostly New Yorkers) coming. We can find these visitors browsing mainly around Van Brunt Street where all bars, restaurants, shops and galleries are situated. The whole western part of the neighbourhood in close connection with Van Brunt Street is in the process of gentrification. Prices of the properties are increasing, and new projects are built with the involvement of big architecture studios such as Foster+Partners. Between these, you can find technological start-up complex, offices and of course pricey apartments. A new subway station is under negotiation in the area. Alongside these realisations lays proposal of AECOM which transform whole Red Hook to new Manhattan. It is a more ideological proposal, but one can see the pressure which puts on the local community. Although new development intrudes the west, the rest of the neighbourhood is calmly waiting. It has a deficient number of services provided to inhabitants. Especially NYCHA Housing complex seems to be excluded. Predictions talk about doubling the population in following ten years in the area. However, there is no affordable housing development coming. The topography of the neighbourhood is laying less than one meter above sea level. Thus it is highly endangered by flood, storm surge or rising sea level. In 2012 when superstorm Sandy occurred, the whole neighbourhood was flooded. It pointed out the necessity of waterfront resiliency solution. The problem is that the entire peninsula is in this condition which means to reinforce the full length of the waterfront.


Figure 06

Red Hook – Bush St; Rostislav Krones




RESEARCH METHODS The research focus was determined from the beginning by three concerns, and they all are presented further in this paper. Namely, it is a demographic study (Figure 16, p. 26), Flooding study (Fig. 21, p. 36) with models of resiliency solutions (Fig. 22, p. 38) and finally Identity of Red Hook document (Fig. 25, p. 44). They crystalised into three spheres which I tackled during the whole research to address the most significant issues of the neighbourhood. These are – housing situation in Red Hook, flood danger and local identity. Through the research process, I do not strictly stick only to three previously mentioned areas, but I am trying to examine issues overlapping and influencing all of my selected themes to compose a clear picture. On the following pages, I am investigating the demographic situation with a connection to real estate market, building typologies, zoning and public transport in the area. There is a part dedicated to flooding risk with relationship to topography, wetlands and demonstration of Sandy flood which occurred in 2012. Following pages will also resent my attempt to grasp local identities of the area. I use several ways to obtain all necessary data for this publication. Alongside internet research, library visits I put personal experience from the site as a relevant and highly valuable data source. I emphasise on analysis based on as relevant sources as possible. Almost all hard data were collected from public databases of U.S. Government. These databases are an excellent source of all kinds of information (thanks to Freedom of Information Law) which are hardly accessible in Europe. For translation of all obtained data and statistics into easy to read graphics, I use different techniques. For some parts, I stick with regular graphs and maps. However, I use also models, illustrations or diagrams to map and highlight specific problems with precision. I did not develop any new research methods but reuse and convert the existing ones for my purposes such as the one used in book Decoding Homes and Houses.1 I believe that different approaches to mapping with single aim can lead me to striking research outcomes which I can later transform into though-through architectural intervention with many fresh ideas.

1 J. Hanson, Decoding Homes and Houses, Cambridge University Press, 1998.


RESEARCH QUESTION “How everlasting flood danger, a necessity of affordable housing and specific local identity can be reflected in architectural intervention?“ All concerns and aims of the research are framed by the research question, and upcoming design proposal should be a clear answer to them. In the following lines, I would like to analyse the question once again to describe my worries clearly. As my concerns also research question is divided into three parts. First of them is „everlasting flood danger.“ The following design should respond to the urgency of flooding risk in the area. I am not pushing myself into solving this issue for whole Red Hook. However, I believe that every upcoming architectural intervention in the area should include flood resiliency from the very beginning into design proposal. The second part of the question adds an issue of affordable housing into consideration. I think that NYCHA typology is insufficient and it does not respond to current problems of the area. My proposed architectural intervention should answer the call for contemporary social housing in the area and densify it concerning its urban scale and history. Last part is describing the concern of local identity. Even though this topic is particular for Red Hook, I believe that to grasp the character of place should be one of the essential abilities of an architect. For the following design process, I will translate neighbourhood‘s identity into coherent architectural intervention.

How everlasting flood danger, a necessity of affordable housing and specific local identity can be reflected in architectural intervention?



Figure 07

College education of Red Hook (comparison)

Colle g

e Ed

u ca t ed

The population of Red Hook is around 11 000 inhabitants. The most of them live in the very centre of the area where the social housing is allocated. Almost 65% of all resident is living there. The rest is spread around mostly west part. East part is dedicated to industrial buildings and warehouses. Prognosis for the following ten years is speaking of doubling the population there.


Median age there is 33 years which shows us that mainly young people are living in the area. Fact proves this that 47% of all inhabitants are single. However, only 42% of all residents have a college education. This number lowers to 10% in the area of social housing. Average of college-educated inhabitants is significantly lower than the rest of Brooklyn.

ll Co

In the neighbourhood, we can find significant Hispanic population following by Black population (Fig. 13, p. 25). However, only 18% of all residents are born in the different country (Fig. 10, p. 25). It goes together with the fact that 13,5% of all people speak English not well or not at all.


du eE



Figure 08

Households in Red Hook

Only 9% of all inhabitants are living in their own house. The rest is renting. This fact is showing the possible danger of gentrification in the area. Median household income is $58,141, which is yet again lower than the rest of Brooklyn.




i th



re hil d


Non family households


rri e

d- c


ie a rr



It is striking that regarding households almost a third of all is composed of single-mothers (Fig. 8, p. 25). This fact explains the Red Hook‘s phenomenon – unbalance ratio between men and women (Fig. 18, p. 30).




Average living area of Red Hook varies from 55,2 m2/ person in the most exclusive part to 21,2 m2/person in the NYCHA housing allocated in the centre.

Figure 09

Occupational employment in Red Hook

The significant majority is commuting to work. More than half of all inhabitants travel by subway (Fig 12, p. 25) 10-30 minutes (Fig. 15, p. 25) every working day. Both male and female residents are mostly working in Sales and Offices (Fig. 14, 15, p. 25). This piece of information proves the fact that more than half of people are working as white collars (Fig. 9, p. 25).

B lu


o lla



Following map (Fig. 16, p. 26) shows us the relation between the density of inhabitants and vacant buildings/land. We can see that there is not so much space as one can assume from the first sight. It is because industrial infrastructure uses most of the land. 24

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lla r

Figure 13

Foreigners in Red Hook

Races in Red Hook


g rei Fo

m e


ot ac on

B o rn

in N

Y s ta

W Wh hit ite a nd A W e an s ia n hi d A te an . Ind ia n d Bl ac k


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Figure 14

Occupations of males in Red Hook

Occupations of females in Red Hook

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t men



d h an Mat ss e and ture r n i e t s u ec BuComp Archit Education Ar t s , D es ign , Spo r ts He alt hc are

Sales and Office

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0 -2




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15 10 -






20 -25 minutes



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30 -35

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Wo rke d

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90+ minutes utes

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Travel time to work

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Mode of transportation to work





Figure 15


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Figure 12


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Figure 11


All data by U.S. Census

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U.S er

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ide the U.S

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Figure 10

Figure 16

Age demography of Red Hook; data by U.S. Census Each circle represents five inhabitants


18 – ­ 25

25 – 35

35 – 45

45 – 55

55 – 65

65 +

Typologies Housing

Abandoned buildings

Owner-occupied homes

Vacant land 26


35,2 m2/person

46 m2/person 21,2 m2/person

41,6 m2/person

27,2 m2/person 55,2 m2/person

Figure 17

Average living area of Red Hook; Rostislav Krones


33,6 m2/person

26,8 m2/person

41,7 m2/person


Figure 18

Married Population of Red Hook; data by U.S. Census

Each circle represents five inhabitants

Married population

Single male population

Single female population 30


FLOODING Floods were the Red Hookâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s most significant threat since its establishment. It is mainly because of the topography and position of the area. The most of it lay lower than three meters above sea level which enables water to spread all over the neighbourhood. We can find this kind of topography till the bridge with motorway which cutting off Red Hook from the rest of Brooklyn. However, topography has two higher areas which have low flooding risk. One of them is the great area around social housing located in the centre of Red Hook next to Coffey Park. The second area lays in the west most part around Fairway market. Both of them were barely affected by recent big floods. Escalation of flood risk in the area during last decade is caused by worldwide phenomenon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; global warming. On example of Red Hook, we can demonstrate imminent danger for all waterfronts around the globe. The frequency of these incidents increases every few years and stresses the necessity of resilient solution in these places. In 2012 hurricane Sandy strikes in the area and floods almost the whole Red Hook. This situation was warning signal for the neighbourhood. Since than NYC government and universities are proposing solutions specifical designated for the area to protect it from the future states of emergency.

Figure 19

Flooding risk; data by FEMA

New York City government is planning to build a flood protection in the area.1 Their plans are illustrated on the picture on the right. We can see three alignments there. The only one will be realised. Outermost alignment is the most logic one, but most of it lay on private properties which demand lots of negotiation. In-between one is going mostly through public places which make it more comfortable and quicker to build. This solution is also the most likely to realise. Intermost alignment runs only through public areas.

Low (A, AE, A0) Moderate (Costal A zone) High (V Zone)

Planned flooding protection Intermost alignment In-between alignment 1 NYC City Planning,Presentation to the Resilient Red Hook Committee, (website), July 10 2017, download/pdf/plans-studies/flood-resiliency-update/brooklyn-resilient-red-hook-071017.pdf, (accessed 13 May 2018).

Outermost alignment 32


Figure 20

Topographical determination of floods; Ground Parks Historic wetlands Potential water ponding sites Potential water evacuation routes 34


Figure 21

Urban sections with demonstration of Sandy flooding; simulation made in 3D model, Rostislav Krones





The flood protection is achieved with a gutter (or different drainage system), which relocates water to huge basins which usually lay in the suburbs. More than strengthening and solving the resiliency, this solution is replacing the problem to other places.

The philosophy behind this solution is tackling the idea of keeping water out of the land for all costs. It is a cheap, flexible and quite well-functioning system which on the other hand confine qualities of public domain during non-emergency states.


Figure 22

Ways to strength resiliency of the waterfront, Rostislav Krones



This resiliency solution is using the idea of so-called Spong Cities which creates absorbing soil on the waterfront to sponge up an incoming flood. It leaves public spaces uninterrupted by creating wetlands in some places. The problem comes with the absorbing speed and capacity of the soil which has to be taken into account.

Landscaping acts very similarly to the wall solution. However, there is a higher chance to create qualitative public space. It is not such a flexible way of strengthening the waterfront but very effective.


ACCESSIBILITY BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT Red Hook‘s accessibility by public transport is very low. Only two bus lines are operating in the area – B57 and B61. The first appointed will take you from Red Hook through Gowanus, Fort Greene, Williamsburg and Bushwick to Queens. The second named will either take you From Red Hook through Park Slope, Cobble Hill to Downtown Brooklyn or through Gowanus to Windsor Terrace. Both bus lines stop in Smith/9th street subway station but only B57 stops in Caroll Street.


Two nearest subway stations are Smith/9th Street and Caroll Street. However, they are far from the most of the neighbourhood – from western third of the area, it takes more than 15 minutes of walking. People from NYCHA Housing have to walk 10 – 15 minutes or take the bus.




S pa out rk h B – r Re ook d Ho lyn F ok er – ry W all S


Alongside bus and subway, there is the third option how to reach Red Hook – by boat. Since 2008, when IKEA was finished, shoppers and locals can travel from Lower Manhattan to Red Hook by IKEA Express Shuttle. Till the beginning of 2018, the shuttle had two stops – Fairway Market and IKEA (close to Erie Basin Park). Since February 2018 only IKEA stop remains. Although, they cut off Fairway Market stop we can find new water connection in Atlantic basin. From 1 June 2017 South Brooklyn Ferry stops in Red Hook. With this line, you can reach Sunset Park, Governors Island and Lower Manhattan. In the future, there is a plan to extend R subway line from Lower Manhattan to Red Hook. William Wachtell, an advisor of Related Companies (one of the city‘s most prominent developers), calls it as “New York’s Next Big Thing.”1

C. V. Baglijan, Subway Stop and Housing for Red Hook Are Among Cuomo Proposals,[website], 2018, https://www.nytimes. com/2018/01/03/nyregion/red-hook-subway-housing.html, (accessed 28 April 2018).


Figure 23

Accessibility by public transport; data by MTA 40


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LOCAL IDENTITIES To grasp the identities of Red Hook is a difficult task, because of its division and incoherency. As I mentioned in previous paragraphs, the neighbourhood is divided into four main parts. From east to west it is â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Productive part, Red Hook Ballfields, NYCHA housing and area around Van Brunt street. These parts do not communicate together and are disconnected. When you are walking through you can feel discontinuity and changing environments. Each part is represented by a different type of architecture which is always designed to follow the needs of every single area. We can see industrial warehouses with cranes in the productive part, tall unified buildings in NYCHA part and low skinny townhouses around Van Brunt. The most of these buildings were constructed before 1960, so they have a certain age and some of them are already outdated. Even though there are connecting architectural elements such as flat roof which is almost exclusively present on all buildings and brick on the facade with its specific colour palette. There is no other element which should represent Red Hook, just a red hook which hangs on many building in the area. Previously mentioned similarities are on the other hand applicable on almost any neighbourhood in Brooklyn. Thus, what is making Red Hook what it is? I made an illustration in which I picked up all crucial fragments placed in immediate proximity (Figure 24) to express the meaning of this neighbourhood for me. In describing local identities, one cannot be objective. The description varies from person to person, and it is dependent on feelings and stories you experienced in the area. These experiences can be later translated into coherent design fitting within the area as in the example of FRAC Dunkerque. The authors there are doubling the old industrial hall with the usage of modern materials to achieve that new building juxtaposes the old one delicately without competing nor fading.1 For me, Red Hook is about putting together enormous productive industrial elements usually placed in suburbs with small more fragile housing elements. It is also about calmness which is present in the neighbourhood even during a weekend, and it is a pleasant side effect of Gowanus Expressway which disconnecting the area from the rest of Brooklyn. Lacaton & Vassal, FRAC Dunkerque,[website], 2018, https://http://, (accessed 1 June 2018).



Figure 24

View on Red Hook; Rostislav Krones


Figure 25

Identity of Red Hook; Rostislav Krones 44


















REAL ESTATE MARKET The housing market in Red Hook is very diverse. On one side we have NYCHA housing (built 1936) which provides a home for almost 65% of all inhabitants, the other side of the spectrum is nearly finished project on 160 Imlay street which offers luxury apartments for astronomical prices. These two project separates only two blocks. This example illustrates the typological diversity and future gentrification of the area. Evolution of property prices (Fig. 27, p. 47) shows us that before the year 2014 the area was as pricey as the rest of Brooklyn. Price peak came at 2014 when 160 Imlay project was put on the market. Since then prices of properties in Red Hook are above average Brooklyn but also average NYC prices. According to the newest information, average property price in Red Hook is $1.43M. Which is the rise of 221.4% compared to February 2013. As I mentioned above significant part of all housing units is allocated in NYCHA housing project. However, we can find other properties as well with the considerable majority of 5-or-more-units properties (Figure 25). It is interesting that lowest value of all has detached houses. This phenomenon is caused by the fact that median built year in Red Hook is 1939 (Fig. 29, p. 47). Thus these properties are probably in bad condition as well as there is not so many of them. Broadly used heating fuel is utility gas (Fig. 28, p. 47) with majority part of all. The government of NYC is trying to encourage people to use solar energy (NYC solar map) in the neighbourhoods. However, there almost no signs of this step visible.

Figure 26






5-or-more-unit ($633,333) To Detached wn ($372,308) hou ses ($1, 745 , 54 5)

Housing units in Red Hook (with price per unit)

n 2-u

$1 it (

9, 0 , 83

) 20

3-to-4-unit ($1,38 8,8



Figure 27

Evolution of property prices in Red Hook;


Red Hook +212.4%

($458,633 to $1.43M)

NYC +40%

($631,733 to $884,129)

Brooklyn +75.6%

($478,919 to $840,944)

February 2013

January 2018

Figure 29

Most commonly used house heating fuel

Year house built in Red Hook

Fuel oil, kerosene, etc.



19 4 0

to 19

09 20 to 00

2010 rl i




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Figure 28

ZONING The most recent update of Red Hook’s zoning was from 2002 (Fig. 30, p. 48) when the zoning plan from 1961 was exchanged. The significant sign of this refreshment is that the waterfront is offered for residential and leisure use. The plan from 1961 is counting only with the central part as a mixed-use district with industry happening around. Current zoning is offering more opportunities for commercial use which anyway remains in the centre of the neighbourhood along with housing. There are many districts provided to light/medium intensity industries. Only “Hook” peninsula is considered as a heavy industry district. The area around Ikea is now offered for mixed-use. Even though the northernmost district is dedicated to medium intensity uses we can find there an almost complete transformation of one of the storage houses at 160 Imlay street. Along with this project, there was a proposal of the technological complex with offices close by which was recently cancelled. These two projects show that the zoning in Red Hook is not well respected. Figure 30

Zoning; data obtained in Existing Conditions and Brownfields analysis – Red Hook, 2014 Commercial zone Park Zoning district

Zoning districts M1-1/M1-2 Light industrial uses M2-1

Medium-intensity industrial uses


Heavy industries

M1-1/R5 48

Mixed use

M2-1 M1-1

M1-1 R5 R6 R6 M1-1/R5






M3-1 49

BUILDING TYPOLOGIES Red Hook is a former industrial area, and so the buildings there reference to its history. The neighbourhood is typical for its low height typology with a flat roof. We can find there only a few examples with a pitched roof. In general, three building types iterating in the area the most. We can see industrial warehouses usually between five to ten meters in height. Townhouses are very present there with elevations between eight to fifteen meters of heigh. Last building type is NYCHA housing in the heart of Red Hook which is erected till the height of twenty meters. It is typical for its composition of cross-like shapes. Although, the most present housing type is townhouse the majority of inhabitants lives in NYCHA. The greater part of all buildings has a height of five to fifteen meters. This part is composed of townhouses and industrial warehouses. We can find only a few buildings in the range between fifteen to nineteen meters. Then there is a group of buildings between twenty to thirty meters in which we can include almost all NYCHA housing project with Treasure Island Storage building to the east and BASIS Independent private elementary school to the south. West part of the neighbourhood is occupied by only three buildings of this height – Fairway Market and two storage buildings on Imlay Street one of which is currently transformed into luxury apartments. In the whole area, we can find only three buildings over thirty meters which I would consider as landmarks of Red Hook. The northmost out of these three is former building od Idea Nuova Inc. which was recently put on the market for sale. It is noticeable for its large letter „R“ on the roof. Another landmark lays next to Coffey Park, and it is the highest NYCHA building out of the whole complex. It is significant for its water tank on the top. I would introduce the last building out of the trio as a real landmark of Red Hook. It is Red Hook Grain Terminal, and it is allocated to the south from ballfields.

Figure 31

Height of Buildings in Red Hook; data obtained in Toward a Unified Red Hook Sewershed, Pratt, 2016

The main typologies of the area are possible to find in the groups (Fig. 32, p. 51). Almost the whole waterfront of the neighbourhood is dedicated to industrial typology. This position was strategic especially in the past when the access to the water was essential. In the heart of the area, we can find NYCHA housing. Van Brunt Street and its surroundings are dedicated to townhouses. The rest of the are is a mix of warehouses and townhouses. 50


15 – 19 m


20 – 29 m

10 – 14 m

30+ m


Figure 32

Grouping of Building Typologies in Red Hook; data obtained in Toward a Unified Red Hook Sewershed, Pratt, 2016 NYCHA Housing Industrial typology Townhouses Mixed-height 52


APARTMENT TYPOLOGIES Apartment typology of Red Hook is based on the culture of townhouses (if we are not considering NYCHA housing). Since most of the building is from the beginning of 20th century, their typology is quite outdated. I investigated some rooms and bedrooms in each building (Fig. 33, 34, 35, 36, p. 55) and I discovered a large difference between owner-occupied houses and renter-occupied houses which is not surprising. Owner-occupied dwellings have mostly eight rooms and 5+ bedrooms. These houses create 9% of all available housing units. Renters have significantly less space â&#x20AC;&#x201C; mainly three rooms with one bedroom. Regarding typology, it is interesting to see that almost all houses are dividing space strictly according to street/courtyard orientation. Living/dining space is allocated on the street side of a house and bedrooms are mostly positioned into the courtyard. Staircases are mostly placed next to outside bearing wall. Sometimes in the middle of disposition. There is always open kitchen present in the living area. In all apartment, they are paying attention to storage spaces. You can always find several in every apartment. Apartments in Red Hook are very generous and spacey. Living space is perceived as a central space of the apartment and is used as connection element for other secondary rooms.


Figure 35

Rooms in owner-occupied houses

Bedrooms in owner-occupied houses


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2 rooms

Figure 33


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4 rooms

8 rooms




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Rooms in renter-occupied apartments

Bedrooms in renter-occupied apartments

5 rooms


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1 bedroom



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5+ bedrooms o ms


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Figure 36 1 room

Figure 34



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Figure 37

Red Hookâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s apartments typologies; Rostislav Krones STREET






Open kitchen



Open kitchen





















Staircase Staircase





Open kitchen

Open kitchen






NYCHA HOUSING TYPOLOGY NYCHA Red Hook Houses complex is one of the largest in Brooklyn built in mid 20th century. They take significant land part of the central area. Their unique shape and materiality are making them stand out but at the same time be recognizable as NYCHA project. The complex is creating a silhouette of Red Hook because these buildings belong to category higher buildings of the area. The majority is six floors tall, but we can find a few exceptions. These are situated to south from Coffey park on the westmost plot of the complex. We can see there two L-shaped buildings which are three floors high. Close them there is one of the tallest buildings (together with Grain Terminal) in the neighbourhood. It rises to a height of 14 levels. When we take a close look at the plans, we can see a repeating typology element which occurs in all present buildings. We can describe them as cross-shaped parts which are always base of the dispositions. On the following lines, I will focus and try to explain one of these fundamental elements. Center of the „cross“ has always communication core where staircase and elevators are placed. These elements are positioned around so-called public hall where all possible social interactions between neighbours happen. Public hall is directly connected to 5-8 apartments. Flats vary in size and disposition. Mostly they are constructed around central hallway which connects all units. However, we can find some units which are positioned around the central dining area. Entrances to the buildings are very dark, and they appear a bit shady. You enter your unit with no social interaction at all. I think that is the main reason why the buildings are so outdated in today‘s situation. Lacking common spaces created excluded community. The truth is that there is a hunger for such an area. I can illustrate on the community garden which is on Wolcott St. under the highest building of the complex. It grows up from an initiative of residents and was established in 2013. 1


Added Value, Red Hook Houses Farm,[website], 2013, http://www., (accessed 28 April 2018).


Figure 38

NYCHA Houses typology; plans provided by NYCHA


Figure 39

NYCHAâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s apartments typology; Rostislav Krones

Apartment A

Public Hall

Apartment A

Storage Apartment B

Apartment C

Kitchen Staircase

Living/Dining Storage

Public Hall


Elevator Bedroom

Apartment C

Apartment A

Apartment B


Apartment A






Public Hall

Public Hall



















RESEARCH OUTCOMES Local identity is the last sphere of my broader interest, and it is defining a factor in my final proposal. Spatial division and incoherency are making Red Hook very divided place. I would like to absorb all fragments into one consistent design which will serve as a connector.

The research part brings together many exciting findings into one clear picture of the neigbourhood. Some discoveries were expected, but some were suprising. I believe that they created a solid base for the following part of the architectural proposal. I will try to sum up all in the following paragraphs.

All previous paragraphs crystalised into the following decisions which influence consecutive architectural intervention. I decided to work on affordable housing project because I believe that it lacks in the area the most. In this way, I can contribute to development in the area which is the most meaningful in my eyes. I picked two specific target groups which dominated the area â&#x20AC;&#x201C; single mom and young people. Alongside other things, I will focus on flood resiliency in my project which will significantly determinate it.

Demography research accompanied by housing situation showed me exciting facts. The whole Red Hook is inhabited by very young people of which the majority is living in NYCHA Housing. In between them, we can find a significant group of single moms (almost a third of all households). This fact is the reason why we can see much more women than men in Red Hook. Predictions talk about doubling the population in following ten years. This led me to question myself â&#x20AC;&#x201C; where these people will be accommodated? Gentrification of the area is on full gas. We can see many luxury projects happening there which as a consequence is rising property prices in the whole neighbourhood. At the beginning of 2018, average property price was double of the New York average price. As an addition to this, there is no affordable housing project on the horizon. Even though there is NYCHA Housing, which is currently giving the home to almost 65% of residents, it is very outdated and unsustainable. Specific location and topography of Red Hook are putting it into a difficult position. Almost whole area lays not higher than current sea level which endangers it. Rising sea level, storm surges and resulting floods are elements which cannot be ignored. There are some plans of reinforcing resiliency of the waterfront, but problem lays in flat topography of the neighbourhood. There is a necessity to bolster the waterfront in full length because otherwise, it would not work sufficiently. However, even if the waterfront would be entirely protected there is another massive problem with sewage. Drains are first places where the water will approach the neighbourhood. They act like hidden traps. Since all sewage system is below a sea level once water from outside will get in it to the system it will immediately leak on the surface. Because of these reasons, I think that reinforcement of waterfront is not the proper solution to this issue. I believe that the answer lays in smaller building scale and not the urban one. Future designs in the area should calculate with a possibility of a flood and add necessary elements of protection already on the conceptual level of a proposal.


Figure 40

Red Hookâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s overview on Manhattan; Rostislav Krones




URBAN STRATEGY The ambition of this project is to create affordable, resilient housing project in Red Hook, designed for specific social groups of single mothers and young people. Since the area lacks any project of this kind, I feel a necessity to propose design which will act as the pioneering project for the neighbourhood. For that purpose, I decided to create a few different proposals which will tackle all possible spatial configurations that can occur in Red Hook. Through mapping the neighbourhood I find out three repeating site types where further development is possible. In the area, we can find plenty of scrapyards and parking lots which are all technically vacant. They are present everywhere, and they formed my first and most apparent plot type â&#x20AC;&#x201C; vacant. There is an enormous amount of warehouse type buildings since Red Hook was and still is neighbourhood driven by productivity. These buildings are mostly low (not higher than 5 m) with significant square meter occupation. I think they yield fantastic opportunity for densification in the area. Thus, unused space above warehouses is my second entry. PILLARS ELEVATION

Since the neighbourhood was established in 17th, we can find here plenty of old and sometimes wholly abandoned buildings with no purpose. These properties are just waiting there for new life. I decided to give it back to them. This close-up my observations with the last plot type â&#x20AC;&#x201C; abandoned building. The fact of three repeating plot types forms the idea of few different strategies and their combination to address resiliency of proposed design adequately. I believe that there is no point in fighting with the power of the ocean and making watertight designs. I think that more sustainable way is to make our buildings waterproof. I used this idea to develop three strategies which are represented on following page (Fig. 41, p. 66). First of them is elevated design which protects all units on the top and creates public domain underneath. The second strategy is to rise the whole ground level of plot or block. This solution ives protection to public domain. The last approach is to create public space and to densify on the roof of existing or new building.


Figure 41

Urban Strategy; Rostislav Krones




THE SITE Three different plots and three different approaches connected to specify needs of all. I was facing a dilemma of choosing the right sites. After all, unlike possibilities, I decided to pick all three as close to each other as possible to create big housing complex. As the best option for my project crystalised area Creamer/Columbia St. junction. NYCHA Houses surround it from north and Red Hook Ballfields from south and east. We can find there four blocks around on which three plots fulfil asked criteria. The southwest one is currently parking for school buses, so it is underused and vacant in my eyes. It occupies 4,500 m2. The northmost one is shopping warehouse with huge parking space in front. We can find there different services like bank, laundry shop or clothes shop. The plot has 9,000 m2 of which warehouse itself takes 5,500 m2. The eastmost plot is occupied by abandoned industrial complex which is currently for rent for $900,000 per year.1 It lays on 8,000 m2 plot. Alongside already mentioned plots‘ neighbours, there are plenty more facilities around. As a part of Red Hook Ballfields, we can find Red Hook Recreational Center equipped with outdoor swimming pool. Southwards from the plots, we can find BASIS Independent Brooklyn private elementary school, Red Hook Community Farms, athletic oval and other sports fields. Sites‘ connection to public transport is perfect. Two only buses (B61, B57) in the area are passing just in front of the plots through Lorraine St. and Otsego St. (Fig. 23, p. 47). Walk distance to both main subway stations varies between 10 – 15 minutes. According to zoning plan (Fig. 30, p. 49) all three plots lays on the ground given to housing and commercial use. This fact supports my decision for choosing the sites.


CPEX Real Estate, 537-555 Columbia Street,[website], 2017, http://, (accessed 28 April 2018).


Figure 42

Aerial view of Red Hook â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Selected sites,


Figure 43

Aerial view of Red Hook â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Close-up on the sites,


Figure 44

Model of selected sites, Rostislav Krones


View from Bay/Columbia St.


Figure 45

Pictures of selected sites, Rostislav Krones

View from Bay St.

View through Creamer St.

View from Hick St.

View from Lorraine St.




URBAN SOLUTION housing and the rest is devoted to productivity purposes.

A design on an urban level of selected sites takes the idea of the urban strategy described in the previous chapter and adds the concept of courtyards. Thanks to this, the overall design is coherent even though each plot has unique conditions to which I am adjusting the layout.

To address resiliency issue, I am using ground elevation technique which raises 75% of the plot for 1,2 m. Risen ground serves as a base and main entrance level for added volumes. I decided to partly close the block from the south with new volumes and provide several entrances to it. In the same time, I opened new complex towards the north where there is currently the dead end of Creamer St. which is blocked by the junkyard. I re-establish Creamer/Hick St. junction which was present there in the past.

The concept of courtyards is built upon deep understanding and reading of NYCHA housing typology. Each building of NYCHA complex has the same idea behind the arrangement of apartments. There is always public hallway to which six to eight apartments are attached as well as all necessary vertical communications. They serve as entrance lobby on each floor and so as the only community spaces in the building. You can detect these spaces on the crossings of volumes. This fact makes these buildings highly readable, and one can always easily find the entrance.

Northmost part is based on the current warehouse â&#x20AC;&#x201C;its roof and parking lot densification. It is a combination of two resilient techniques â&#x20AC;&#x201C; roof densification and ground elevation. I was facing the most challenging issues with the roof densification, especially from the stability point of view. To solve it, I took current position of pillars which served me as a grid for the design. Unfortunately, these pillars were designed for one story building thus there was the necessity of reinforcement. Rather than reinforcing each pillar, I decided to create bearing walls which follow the pillars system. This solution gives me the opportunity to influence spatially the building below. I took the chance and dedicated the largest middle space to production with commercial areas around.

These findings led me to rethink such configuration and be inspired by it. I took public hallway as a fundamental element around which all housing units will be developed. I transform the hallway into a central courtyard which opens a possibility to create generous community space which will serve as an access point. I twisted the way one will perceive this space. While NYCHAâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s primary function of the hallway is just transporting with almost no social interaction, I decided to enhance the social aspect instead and push all necessary communications into the background.

The part of the parking lot uses ground elevation technique to protect the building against the flood. However, it is not the same case as on previously described reconstruction plot. I decided to create split-level underground parking underneath the elevation. Thus instead of excavated ground, I am using rise platform which serves as the entry level to a new building as well as to warehouse and in the same time houses parking lot underneath.

Spatially I decided to close proposed courtyards from three sides to support the idea of community space. One side of the courtyard is always open to strengthening readability of space and social interaction. I believe that these two aspects are crucial while designing specifically for single mothers and young people. Each part designed complex is solving resiliency in different ways. However, they are combining the ideas of urban strategy to perceive the space in the best way possible. Following paragraphs will explain more in detail each intervention.

Southwest plot is vacant, so there was less pressure to link new design to present structures. I developed a bit different design which contains separated buildings which are connected by the bridge. Westmost building is elevated on pillars by 4 m, and the middle part is equipped with a ramp which serves as an access point to the second building and roof area of the warehouse. Underneath the ramp, there is a parking lot dedicated to the complex. Each side of the ramp has commercial activities on the ground floor with housing and community part above.

The eastmost plot contains old abandoned industrial complex which is partly in the process of decay. I carefully investigate and consecutively select parts in which there is a possibility of reuse. It means primarily west part of the plot since a considerable part of the east part was damaged during the fire and its stability is questionable. This fact leaves me seven buildings for further design. Three of which I am dedicating to 76

Figure 46

Built/Unbuilt area ratio The eastmost building is separated into two parts â&#x20AC;&#x201C; productive and housing. Ground level is dedicated to production in five separated units. Each unit is equipped with a direct connection to the first floor where we can find offices and public space. Above there are housing units. I selected this plot to develop a more detailed design which you can see in the following paragraph.


It is crucial for me to create generous elevated spaces in such area as Red Hook to provide a safe place to gather during emergency situations. These space are dedicated to all people in the neighbourhood not only the residents of the complex. That is the reason why I designed so many elevated areas across the whole complex.


il t



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Figure 47

Ground floor situation plan 1/1000; Rostislav Krones 79


Figure 48

First floor situation plan 1/1000; Rostislav Krones 81

Figure 49

Urban section 1/1000; Rostislav Krones



ARCHITECTURAL CONCEPT resident. I believe that variability and modifications on the small-scale level can create a more pleasant environment on the patio. For that reason, I introduced four variations for the entrance door. So each inhabitant can quickly change their entrance to desired option according to their needs. In this way, I am designing basic structure which can be later slightly modified by every incoming resident.

To further develop my project in detail and deliver the highest quality possible I decided to work only on one-third of the complex. I chose the southwest part of the designed complex because it serves as an entrance point to a big part of the complex and all fundamental strategies are present here. I developed this part of the project to the detail of architectural study and consulted it with several engineers to ensure that the design is realistic and buildable.

Each building is equipped with one community room and laundry area. However, every apartment is prepared to store washing machine, so this decision is entirely optional and depends on inhabitants. The last feature of the typology is separating closet. You can find this piece of furniture in studio apartments, and it serves as movable separation of the space.

Conceptually project is influenced by the idea of courtyards and resiliency options. We can find there three buildings which are separated by public space in between. The west part is composed of two similar volumes so I will describe them together. Both volumes are elevated on 4 m high pillars to protect upper floors against flooding. This solution creates generous public space underneath and opens the possibility to place commercial areas there. You can access upper floors of both buildings by staircases which is one of two access points. These floors are dedicated to housing facilities. The second entry point is situated on the ramp which separates the two. Public and community space is blending thanks to landscaping on the ramp which also works as a natural staircase to the courtyard. Underneath the ramp, there is underground parking which accommodates 20 cars. By walking over the bridge, we can access third eastmost building of this part. It has slightly different design and typology. The whole ground floor level is dedicated to five productive spaces which are directly connected to offices on the first floor. The entire first floor is devoted to offices and generous public space. In the second and third floor, we can find housing units. On the north side, there is another ramp which connects this plot with the project on the top of the warehouse. Since the whole project is about housing and its resiliency, I dedicated plenty of time to design proper typology. As I already described I arrange apartments around the central courtyard which should serve as community space. However, I pushed this idea further and designed such spaces on each floor of housing in the form of patios. These community balconies are connected to the staircase and serve as vertical communications. To support the collectiveness but at the same time propose more personal spaces I played with the connection between flat entrance and patio. I designed small bights at every entrance to create a bit of private area which can be later modified by the 84


Figure 50

Facade detail; Rostislav Krones

All three buildings are built with the same structural strategy. We can see there combined structural system which suits the best to the typology. On the ground floor, we can see pillars system which bears the rest of the volumes. I choose it because of the public space underneath and also for its durability during flooding. This solution, in case of emergency, allows me to expose a minimum area of bearing structure towards the water and makes it easier to inspect and repair after such an incident. Pillars also carry outside perimeter of each building. The rest of the disposition is bear by walls which act like beams, and they are supported by columns below.

Figure 51

Flood resiliency device in productive spaces; Rostislav Krones

Patios are an extension of the floor, and so they are cantilevered. We can see different patio structure on the eastmost building where there are more significant spans in some places. Thus I had to use beams there which eliminate a necessity of pillars.

MATERIALITY To address identities of Red Hook, I decided to get inspired by omnipresent industry and near NYCHA housing complex. I selected to main materials â&#x20AC;&#x201C; mesh metal and white painted brick. The first material refers to the industrial heritage of the area. The second is made as a contradiction and critique to NYCHA. I am using the brick as the primary facade element and mesh metal as the complementary material for railings and other small details. Although both materials have symbolic meaning, there is practicality behind. White painted brick perform very well during hot summer days since white colour does not absorb heat as much as darker colours. Also detailing of such solution is very profitable. If we briefly take a look at the composition of the outside wall, we will see the advantages. Following layers are in order from the interior towards the exterior: plaster, bearing structure with brick filling, thermal insulation, air gap, white painted facade brick. We can see that the air gap, next to the white paint, provides another level of cooling comfort because of air flow during hot days and cooling off near structures. Additionally, such composition opens the possibility of placing windows towards the interior which supports the tectonic of the facade and adds an extra layer of shading.


Figure 52

Ground floor plan 1/400; Rostislav Krones 86


Figure 53

First floor plan 1/400; Rostislav Krones 88


Figure 54

Second floor plan 1/400; Rostislav Krones 90


Figure 55

Third floor plan 1/400; Rostislav Krones 92


Figure 56

Section 1/200; Rostislav Krones



Figure 57

View from the patio; Rostislav Krones



Figure 58

View from Otsego St; Rostislav Krones



Figure 59

View from patio into the courtyard; Rostislav Krones





DESIGN PROCESS I used several design tools through the whole design process of my Master Dissertation to achieve the best possible outcome in the form of architectural intervention. I believe that strength of any tool is in its variety with almost no restrictions on your imagination. I am frustrated by tools which are creating limits, and you are forced to bend them in weird ways. Following pages are full of examples of different techniques which I used to develop my project through the proposal development period. I was using sketching as the quickest way to note all my ideas and preserve for further use. My notebook is full of these small sketches which do not aspire to be the best-looking drawing, but on the other hand, they serve the purpose of catching the ideas. My other tool to quickly test and develop ideas is my favourite toy of all time â&#x20AC;&#x201C; LEGO. I believe that passion for this plastic construction toy, which grows since my very childhood, paved my way into the architectural field. Nowadays I am not using as toy anymore but as powerful sketching tool in three dimensions. I think that especially in early phases of design process unified bricks can form first concepts of the project with glance and simplicity. Last but not least tools to express and develop ideas in any design proposal are drawings and section. I believe that in combination with two previously mentioned ways of generating ideas it creates powerful combo which does not limit you. I have been using all data which I obtained during my research period during the design process. I transformed all knowledge I gain with the tools I mentioned before to achieve the best possible outcome. Even though the Reflection paper is divided into chapters where research phase is before design phase, I did not distinguish it so precisely through my work. I believe these two phases are merging each other and they are inseparable.


Figure 60

Sketches; Rostislav Krones



Figure 61

Model with proposal; Rostislav Krones 107



Figure 62

Section through proposal; Rostislav Krones




9th St. Smith - 15 min. , 1 500 m


Figure 63

Plan of proposal; Rostislav Krones


th t. 9 S in. m ith Sm m, 10 800


CONCLUSION in fighting with nature. We should learn again to live side by side with it and accept its strength. Understand nature forces and use them in our favour.

I firmly believe that proposed project and connected research highly enriched by Streetscape Territories framework proposed by Kris Scheerlinck. During the whole process, I was taught to perceive public domain in the entirely different way and try to blend private and public into one single space without boundaries. This approach opens my eyes, and I guess it helps to form my opinions as an architect.

Resiliency is one of the critical elements which profoundly influence my proposal. I used several techniques to prevent more substantial damage during cases of emergency. I did not want to achieve water tightness but rather waterproofness, which is in my eyes much more sustainable. I prepared the structure to be flooded few times during the lifecycle with only minor repairs necessary afterwards.

My project should serve as a pilot for affordable housing projects in the area. I hope I designed sustainable and pleasant environment with the danger of continually flooding in mind. Combination of housing and work opportunities ensure lively environment through the whole day and offer jobs to the inhabitants. Fusion of working and housing environment blends public and private into one continuous space.

I believe that good design should age and perform well during active years. You can influence the ageing process mainly with chosen materials. Thus, I decided to use long-lasting materials like brick and metal which eliminates a need for frequent maintenance and so lower the costs in the long-term use of the building.

However, I primarily concentrate on the housing typology so I can achieve spatially rich environment with a focus on community space. In general, I am very critical towards community housing, and I do not believe it is a universal solution for all. I have to have specific target group to justify myself usage of such configuration, and I found it here. Population with the majority of single mothers living in insufficient living conditions persuade me.

During the process, I keep questioning my own decisions to achieve the finest project possible. The result I achieved is almost one year work of active research and design. I tried to perform my best and enjoy the journey.

With the usage of community spaces there usually comes uniformity. To avoid it, I am trying to encourage inhabitants to modify and personalise their private part of community space. I hope this will help to create a pleasant heterogeneous environment. Although I believe in the personification of space with tools given by designer, one has to be careful with it. Giving too much freedom in a modification to the hands of inhabitants can be, and so I hope I balance it correctly. Resiliency and sustainability is a huge issue in today, not only architecture, world. Global warming and rising sea level are changing our view of public spaces and buildings. I was building up my opinion on this issue already six years and especially last two years at International Master in Architecture gave me a proper view on the problematic. I used to gain knowledge in the proposed project to achieve the best outcome possible. The plot I chose to work on is few hundreds of meters from the waterfront sitting not higher than few centimetres above sea level. Thus I was directly confronted by the power of nature. I believe that there is no point 112

Figure 64

Red Hook â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Richards; Rostislav Krones


I would like to thank all people who contributed in any way to the development of my master thesis. First of all, I would like to thank Kris Scheerlinck, my teacher and founder of Streetscape Territories research and design project, for guiding me through the whole process with valuable insights and tips. All teachers and alumni of KU Leuven who were so kind to discuss my project during the process. On all our New York visits, we gain plenty of information from Deborah Gans, Erine Butler and Joanna Crispe. All my fellow students were a great support during our weekly sessions. A sincerest thank you to Oleksandra Tsesko for all fresh ideas, great support and patience through the years of my studies as well as my master thesis. Last but not least I would like to thank my parents for supporting me through all ups and downs and for giving me the opportunity to study my desired field.




Burrington, I., Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure, Melville House, 2016.

Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY Real Estate & Homes For Sale, (website),, (accessed 15 January 2018). Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York (NY) , (website),, (accessed 2 February 2018).

Hanson, J., Decoding Homes and Houses, Cambridge University Press, 1998. Koolhaas, R., Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, The Monacelli Press, 1997.

Red Hook Real Estate - Homes for Sale in Red Hook, NY, (webstie),, (accessed 2 February 2018).

Kuz, Z., and J. Stein, Toward a Unified Red Hook Sewershed, Pratt Institute, 2016.

New York 3D Model, (website),, accessed 5 February 2018).

Scheerlinck, K., Coney Island: Streetscape Territories Notebook, KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture, 2014.

3C: Comprehensive Coastal Communities ideas competition, (website),, (accessed 10 March 2018).

Scheerlinck, K. and H. Van Damme, Common Streetscapes, New York: Streetscape Territories Notebook, KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture, 2015.

Red Hook New York, (website),, (accessed 10 March 2018).

Zukin, S., Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, Oxford University Press; Reprint edition, 2011. DOCUMENTS Existing Conditions and Brownfields analysis – Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York City Department of City Planning, 2014. Red Hook – Integrated Flood Protection System; Feasibility Study Findings, NYC Resiliency, 2017. Southwest Brooklyn – Growing from the Waterfront Again, AECOM, 2016. PlaNYC – A Greenaer, Greater New York, The City of New York, 2011.


LIST OF FIGURES 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

How You May Live and Travel in the City of 1950; Popular Science Monthly, August 1925, p.41 Aerial view of Red Hook; New York and Brooklyn; ca. 1875, Parsons & Atwater, Bartlett & Greene‘s free and bonded warehouses and elevators; ca. 1880, Endicott & Co, P., item/2003664243/ Red Hook history timeline; data provided by Aditi Kumar Red Hook – Bush St; Rostislav Krones College education of Red Hook (comparison) Households in Red Hook Occupational employment in Red Hook Foreigners in Red Hook Occupations of males in Red Hook Mode of transportation to work Races in Red Hook Occupations of females in Red Hook Travel time to work Age demography of Red Hook; data by U.S. Census Average living area of Red Hook; Rostislav Krones Married Population of Red Hook; data by U.S. Census Flooding risk; data by FEMA Topographical determination of floods; Urban sections with demonstration of Sandy flooding; simulation made in 3D model, Rostislav Krones Ways to strength resiliency of the waterfront, Rostislav Krones Accessibility by public transport; data by MTA View on Red Hook; Rostislav Krones Identity of Red Hook; Rostislav Krones Housing units in Red Hook (with price per unit) Evolution of property prices in Red Hook; trulia. com Most commonly used house heating fuel Year house built in Red Hook Zoning; data obtained in Existing Conditions and Brownfields analysis – Red Hook, 2014 Height of Buildings in Red Hook; data obtained in Toward a Unified Red Hook Sewershed, Pratt, 2016

32 Grouping of Building Typologies in Red Hook; data obtained in Toward a Unified Red Hook Sewershed, Pratt, 2016 33 Rooms in owner-occupied houses 34 Rooms in renter-occupied apartments 35 Bedrooms in owner-occupied houses 36 Bedrooms in renter-occupied apartments 37 Red Hook‘s apartments typologies; Rostislav Krones 38 NYCHA Houses typology; plans provided by NYCHA 39 NYCHA‘s apartments typology; Rostislav Krones 40 Red Hook‘s overview on Manhattan; Rostislav Krones 41 Urban Strategy; Rostislav Krones 42 Aerial view of Red Hook – Selected sites, bing. com 43 Aerial view of Red Hook – Close-up on the sites, 44 Model of selected sites, Rostislav Krones 45 Pictures of selected sites, Rostislav Krones 46 Built/Unbuilt area ratio 47 Ground floor situation plan 1/1000; Rostislav Krones 48 First floor situation plan 1/1000; Rostislav Krones 49 Urban section 1/1000; Rostislav Krones 50 Facade detail; Rostislav Krones 51 Flood resiliency device in productive spaces; Rostislav Krones 52 Ground floor plan 1/400; Rostislav Krones 53 First floor plan 1/400; Rostislav Krones 54 Second floor plan 1/400; Rostislav Krones 55 Third floor plan 1/400; Rostislav Krones 56 Section 1/200; Rostislav Krones 57 View from the patio; Rostislav Krones 58 View from Otsego St; Rostislav Krones 59 View from patio into the courtyard; Rostislav Krones 60 Sketches; Rostislav Krones 61 Model with proposal; Rostislav Krones 62 Section through proposal; Rostislav Krones 63 Plan of proposal; Rostislav Krones 64 Red Hook – Richards; Rostislav Krones



Profile for Rostislav Krones

Resilient Social Housing in Red Hook, NYC  

Resilient Social Housing in Red Hook, NYC is a master dissertation project developed for International Master of Architecture at KU Leuven F...

Resilient Social Housing in Red Hook, NYC  

Resilient Social Housing in Red Hook, NYC is a master dissertation project developed for International Master of Architecture at KU Leuven F...