Urbahn Architects and contractor Citnalta have completed the renovation of offices for multiple New York City public agencies on six floors of 345 Adams Street, a 13-story commercial building located in Downtown Brooklyn. New York City owns 11 floors of the building and uses the space to house a variety of city agencies. The work represents part of a $110 million, building-wide renovation, infrastructure upgrade, and fire protection systems improvement project.
Renovations on floors 10th and 11th have provided new offices for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD); the New York Police Department (NYPD); and Safe Horizons, a violence victims service organization. Tenants on other renovated floors include the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) on the third floor; Department of Finance (DOF) as well as Marshalls, Sheriff and Legal departments on the fifth floor; and Kings County DA ComALERT and the Counseling Services Eastern District New York CSEDNY on the seventh floor. The 13th floor houses maintenance staff workrooms, lockers, and offices as well as mechanical spaces.
Photo by Ola Wilk Photography/Wilk Marketing Communications
According to Urbahn Principal Natale V. Barranco, AIA, LEED AP, “The overall project goal was to consolidate New York City’s public agencies located at different areas of Brooklyn into this central location to reduce operational costs and improve communication.” The New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) set up the initial construction budgets and determined the general requirements and workstation counts for each agency. Urbahn was then tasked with the design of workplace to accommodate individual agency requirements within the pre-set budget parameters. “The renovations encompassed six entire floors as well as the 5,000-square foot first floor lobby with entrances on two sides of the building,” he added.
Additional project team members included construction manager STV; electrical engineer Loring Engineers; plumbing and fire protection engineer JFK&M; lighting designer Lumen; audio/visual and security systems designer Cerami; vertical transportation engineer CBA; structural engineer OECLS; and environmental consultant EPM.
Design Components and Construction Challenges
The Renaissance Revival building was designed by McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin and constructed in 1923 for the Edison Electric Company of Brooklyn. New York City purchased the building in 1989 and then sold the first two floors to Muss Development, which rented these spaces to a childcare center and other commercial and retail tenants. Each floor plate offers 24,000-square feet of space.
Following the completion of the initial renovations, future project phases will create office space for “Each agency has their own functional and aesthetic requirements and Urbahn coordinated closely with each of them to develop designs that met both the design requirements and the DCAS budget parameters. For example, Herman Miller furniture systems will be utilized throughout the building and most agencies chose the Canvas line that features cloth finishes. However, DOB requested laminate finishes in place of cloth to facilitate cleaning, and their spaces will utilize the Action Office line instead. Several agencies chose their own color schemes. The NYPD space features brown and purple to reflect the colors of the agency logo,” shared Urbahn Senior Associate Antonio Pinto, AIA.
All office floors include a combination of open workspace, private offices, conference rooms, and employee amenities. The 10th floor has several existing conference rooms featuring teak panels and trim that were installed as part of the original 1923 building and refurbished prior to the current renovation. To reflect the building’s past, Urbahn designed new teak paneling on the exterior of the conference room that closely matches the original 1923-vintage millwork. Within the historic conference rooms, the Urbahn team specified new luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring and Armstrong Woodworks Grille Tegular natural wood ceiling panels with imbedded linear lighting fixtures that visually complement the original teak wall paneling.
Photo by Ola Wilk Photography/Wilk Marketing Communications
Luxury vinyl flooring (LVT) and carpet are used throughout the office spaces, while terrazzo flooring is installed in the public corridors, elevator lobbies, and in some individual waiting areas. Office area walls are painted gypsum board.
“MEP systems on each floor have been replaced. In addition, new chillers and an emergency generator were installed, and both presented significant challenges,” explained Pinto. “The three-foot by 12-foot , 12,000-pound ArcticCool modular chiller had to be located in the subcellar and there was no adequate access through the existing building to bring the equipment into that area. The construction team opened a section of the Pearl Street sidewalk above an existing vault to gain access into subcellar and then restored the sidewalk once the installation was complete.”
The Kohler diesel generator – almost nine tons in weight and more than 13 feet long - also had to be installed within the existing building. Loring worked closely with the Urbahn team to analyze several potential locations and ultimately selected an area on the 13th floor that had a partial attic above to accommodate the chiller height. This system was craned into place in five sections and then reassembled on-site. Citnalta erected fire-rated perimeter walls around the generator room to provide separation from the rest of the floor.
Urbahn Architects is a full-service planning and design firm based in New York City. Since its founding in 1945, Urbahn has designed projects for organizations and institutions that operate in the hospitality, multi-family residential, healthcare, education, justice, science, transportation, and infrastructure sectors. ENR New York magazine recently recognized Urbahn as the 2019 Design Firm of the Year. Building Design & Construction ranks Urbahn as the 92nd largest architectural firm in the U.S.
Four principals lead the firm: Donald E. Henry, Jr., AIA, LEED AP; Natale V. Barranco, AIA, LEED AP; Rafael Stein, AIA; and Ranabir Sengupta, AIA, LEED AP. Urbahn served as the architect for some of the U.S.’ most iconic structures, including the Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Control at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, and the Fermi National Accelerator Lab in Batavia, IL. The construction value of Urbahn’s on-going domestic and international projects exceeds $500 million
Urbahn’s current and recent work includes renovation of the New York Surrogate’s Courthouse historic skylight in Manhattan; the New York City Hall Mayoral Offices and Emergency Situation Center and Public Health Lab Redevelopment Master Plans in New York, NY; the Harborview Ambulatory Center Brooklyn at the VA Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY; Centro Medico Correccional in Bayamon, PR; the Jersey City Municipal Services Complex, Jersey City, NJ; the SUNY New Paltz Engineering Innovation Hub in New Paltz, NY; the Lehman College School of Nursing in the Bronx, NY; Usha Martin University Master Plan in Ranchi, India; the Columbia University Baker Field Facilities Master Plan in New York, NY; the College of New Jersey Science Complex in Ewing, NJ; and the P.S. 253Q Elementary School in Queens, NY.