by ODA Architecture
251 1ST STREET
by ODA New York
Situated at the corner of 4th Avenue and 1st Street in the coveted Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, 251 1st by ODA New York is the firm’s latest manifestation of its steadfast commitment to improving quality of life in urban areas. In this case—taking a page from its well-documented playbook—ODA’s inflected the building’s upper massing with a cascade of setbacks and terraces, yielding substantial outdoor space, as well as multiple exposures for units.
In addition to light and outdoor area, playing with the massing in this way also provides a sensitive contextual nod: A more formal, closed exterior on bustling 4th Avenue—suitable for the major commercial artery—gives way to the porous push and pull of the terracing along 1st Street, design language meant to mimic the small scale of area brownstones and to engage with 1st’s intimate, more residential quality.
In this interaction between disparate exterior elements, 251 1st also references an abstract undercurrent—the generational and cultural shift, as Brooklyn, a once sleepy, largely residential outer borough, continues its transformation into one of NYC’s great cultural epicenters. In other words, both legs of Brooklyn’s changing identity receive expression on the exterior of 251 1st.
Inside, ODA’s design is conceived as a kind of urban oasis. While the clean lines and unabashed geometry of the contemporary canon are prominent on the exterior, the lobby—open planned, full-floored and attended 24 hours (via doorman and virtual concierge)—has a softer, distinctly natural, almost zen-like aura, with a strong emphasis on materials: a rich medley of woods, concrete, and metals. In the lobby’s lounge areas, living green wall receive ample light through transparent front and rear glass.
Units, in contrast, feature muted palettes—and are, per usual, elegantly appointed. Wide plank white oaks floors lay beneath soaring ceilings, circumscribed by floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors. Powder rooms, secondary baths, and master baths are outfitted with Italian marble, imported porcelain, and white honed marble, respectively. And eleven light-filled penthouses boast panoramic vistas reaching from the Manhattan skyline to the Verrezano-Narrows Bridge.
And, as ODA residents have come to expect, the building features a generous slew of amenities, from the familiar—two sun-soaked courtyards, a landscaped terrace—to the luxuriantly unexpected: an entry floor library, stroller valet, fitness/yoga room, and even a pet grooming station, among others.
Quote from Eran Chen
Founder and Executive Director ODA New York
“251 1st street allowed us to give a new dimension to the idea of humanizing the façade, and in the process, pose a simple question: what exactly is a building façade? Is it simply an aesthetic mask, or is it an integral part of the life and experience of the building? How distinct should the differences be between inside and out, private and communal, between the building and the street life below? Situated on the corner of 1st street, an intimate tree lined stretch of brownstones, and the commercial post-industrialized 4th Ave, this building integrates both aspects of density and community. Standing higher than the neighboring buildings permits sweeping views of Manhattan, both through expansive windows and from wide outdoor gardens, while still maintaining the feel of a small town community.
With its formal enclosed face along 4th Ave giving way to a highly fragmented facade along 1st street, the building also introduces an alternative for residential corner buildings to engage with both the commercial avenue and residential street.
And at the end of the day, for us, that is what Architecture is. A vehicle with which we can seek new ways to improve peoples lives, not just those who call our buildings home but for the surrounding community as well.”
Signature Architectural Element
puzzle-like series of setbacks and terraces yields multitude of windows and cascading outdoor spaces and generates interior variety (29 unique apartment configurations), such that every unit has it’s own personality.
Interiors: “urban oasis” with an abundance of natural materials and textures – e.g., lush green walls, a rich medley of woods, plus man-made materials, like concrete and metals.
Exterior: morphology/silhouette is contextual, mirroring the transition between 4th Avenue and 1st Street. Along major artery (4th Avenue), the exterior is a formal, closed face, and along the more intimate/residential backstreet (1st Street, coveted for its brownstones and tree-lined streets), upper fragmentation creates a “vertical village” to be populated with life. This dichotomy is representative of the large-scale changes sweeping the borough — evolution from sleepy borough to cultural epicenter
all units have open floor plan; high ceilings (up to 10’ 8”); wide plank white oak flooring; floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors. The kitchen appliances are integrated within custom-built satin lacquer upper cabinets and stainless steel lower cabinets. Powder rooms, secondary baths, and master baths are all outfitted with Italian marble, imported porcelain, and honed white marble, respectively
Penthouses: 11 light-filled penthouses in total, each with multiple exposures (up to four) and panoramic vistas reaching from the Manhattan skyline to the Verrezano-Narrows Bridge, with front, back and side yards presenting endless horizons in every direction.
lobby: The full-floor, open-plan lobby attended 24 hours (part-time doorman & virtual concierge) features living green wall, bathed in natural sunlight emanating from front and rear glass walls
major amenities: Two sun-splashed courtyards; landscaped rooftop terrace (with outdoor kitchen, lounge, & dining areas), an entry floor library, children’s playroom, stroller valet, pet washing/grooming station, fitness and yoga room, lounge/event space (with kitchen); secure bike and resident storage
Location: 251 First Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Client: Adam America Real Estate
Size: 80000 SF
Team: Eran Chen, P. Christian Bailey, Ryoko Okada, Dongyoung Kim, Hadas Brayer, Vi Nguyen, Asuncion Tapia
We design “As of Right” buildings. We are not looking to create monuments but to divert the perspective of dwelling and over time influence the city. Our immediate context has a powerful impact on our wellbeing and we have the power to shape that context. We design our city while our city designs us back. As Steven Johnson said “our thoughts shape the spaces that we inhabit and our spaces return the favor”.
The power of the NYC architect is continuously reduced to the surface of things as buildings are dominated by numerous rules and regulations. Consequently, architecture becomes less about the fundamental qualities of living and more about the iconic expression. At ODA we always strive to rearrange these priorities and put people first. We strive to crack the surface and explode the content allowing more interaction and more surprises.
Jane Jacobs’ dream of life on the intimate scale of Greenwich Village’s streets is fading as population density increases and forces us to build vertically. ODA is in search of the best practices to develop a new paradigm that infects vertical living with the human and social qualities of the low scale housing formulas. We believe that our quality of life need not be compromised for the privilege of being in NYC.
The future is now, and is expected to be influenced by primal truths. The extensive study and decoding of the human body brought the revolution against the industrialized and a desire to return to nature through technology. Our designs are meditating this condition envisioning spaces that satisfy 3 human needs: the desire to observe wide perspectives and reach beyond boundaries, the need for protection and intimacy and the beauty of transition between in and out.
At ODA we cater for these ideas through a transitional territory we call “the vertical village”. By exploding the traditional NYC block, we find voids, gaps and open spaces that are shared by their communities and create accessible private and public spaces where social life is generated and the relationship with nature reinstated. Most of our buildings have greater usable outdoor space than the building’s footprint, apartments have more perimeter wall per sf than the average and spaces are not shy to look at each other. We call it “unboxing NYC”.
We work within the system to exploit the system. We utilize its nuisances to create value which by its nature can be replicated again in another form. We believe in the synergy between architect and client and the inclusion of as many parameters as possible. Our studio is a horizontal plane, we all share the same space and all opinions are heard. We design from the inside out developing form driven by the relationships between people and their activities. Our buildings look different because they each function differently.