Architect Reinvents Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn Church as Modern Condo

April 14, 2009

Considered a leader in adaptive re-use projects, which, over the years, have included reclaimed churches, factories, and warehouses, Scarano Architect PLLC’s design of The Sanctuary Condominiums in Brooklyn has been embraced by the community and buyers. Located in the Fort Greene Landmark District, the project entailed the conversion of a long-abandoned Neo-Gothic church, dating back to 1915, and its attached rectory, into 13 distinct condominium apartments.

Highlighted by a striking masonry façade and intact steeple, the two contiguous buildings were combined into residences that utilize organic aspects of the church, such as original beamed ceilings, arches in the main sanctuary, and stained glass throughout the buildings. The new partitions were positioned in ways that visually reinforce the original basilica structure, which remains at the core. On the lower floors, the basilica is manifested in the form of exposed heavy timber beams; on the upper floors, original gothic roof rafters and braces are fully exposed. In addition, a rooftop extension that adds space to project and is not visible from the street, has earned enthusiastic approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

“The most interesting aspects of this project were the many design challenges,” says architect Robert M. Scarano Jr., AIA, FARA, ALA. “The beauty of maintaining the inherent spirituality in the church’s design, in combination with creating livable, exciting space, made the whole project a joy to work on.”

Located on Cumberland Street between Lafayette and DeKalb Avenues, the formerly abandoned church had had an adverse effect on the neighborhood for years. But, the renovation, which maintains the original façade, upgraded and restored, has been publicly acclaimed by the community. So much so that, in spite of the economic downturn, more than 70 percent of the residences have sold over the past year.

Added Kathryn Lilly, the associate broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman, who is the exclusive sales agent for the project, “People have already moved in and are thrilled with the unique layouts and luxury features of the apartments.”

About Scarano Architect PLLC
Founded in 1985 by Robert Scarano Jr., AIA, FARA, ALA, award-winning Scarano Architect, PLLC is one of New York’s most prolific architecture firms. Over the years, the group has been responsible for the design of hundreds of residential projects, primarily in Brooklyn and Manhattan. In addition to new development projects, Scarano Architect is known for its work with conversions, adaptive re-use and affordable housing projects.  Other segments the firm services include commercial office and retail and institutional.

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