Brooklyn is New York City’s most populous borough with a population of more than 2.6 million people. Since 1996, the Department of Design and Construction has contributed to its growth and revitalization, completing 809 public building projects and 250 infrastructure projects. The work in the past year alone included building new sewers that protect waterways such as the Gowanus Canal and Fresh Creek; improving the flow of traffic along the busy Tillary Street exit of the Brooklyn Bridge; expanding and rebuilding some of Brooklyn’s most renowned cultural institutions; and more.
Read below to find out more about DDC’s past and current projects in Brooklyn.
The historic Billie Holiday Theatre in Bedford-Stuyvesant re-opened in May 2017 following a renovation and expansion. Founded in 1972, it hosts performances as well as local events, serving approximately 15,000 people annually. Eponymously named for the famous American jazz singer, its stage has featured prominent African American and Caribbean actors and entertainers including Smokey Robinson and Samuel L. Jackson.
DDC managed the project for the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), fully modernizing the theatre and making it ADA-compliant. All new seating was installed, along with new lighting and stage rigging with advanced fire suppression systems. New state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment now optimize the theatre experience for audiences, connecting to a brand new control room.
Further improvements were made to the theatre’s infrastructure, including new boilers and several new air conditioning units that work with the building’s existing geothermal system to use the earth’s natural cooling powers to reduce energy consumption and make the theatre more environmentally sustainable.
Founded in 1899, the museum is the first in the United States designed exclusively for children. It features participatory exhibits which encourage visitors to learn through interaction, enhancing the learning experience through the arts, sciences, and world cultures. It is New York City’s first and only LEED-certified green museum and demonstrates innovative uses of alternative energy sources and renewable building materials.
DDC is currently building new and expanded studios for Dancewave, an educational nonprofit founded in 1995 that is focused on personal development through dance. The new location will feature two new dance studios and will serve more than 5,000 young people per year through Dancewave’s school, pre-professional dance companies, arts-in-education outreach programs, summer camps, and special events. The new space, at 3,600 square feet, will be triple the size of the group’s current home
High efficiency theatrical lighting and HVAC systems will allow the new space to comply with LEED Silver standards for environmental sustainability, helping meet Mayor de Blasio’s goals for reducing greenhouse gases under the City’s “80X50” initiative.
DDC is renovating the popular East Flatbush Library, moving staff offices and administrative space to the edges of the structure to create a large open floor plan with an expansive central reading area. New skylights located in a new roof will fill the central space with natural lighting, making it more inviting to visitors and reducing energy consumption.
The new library will be fully ADA-compliant, with new restrooms and new furniture designed to allow equal access to all. New HVAC systems, relocated to the roof, will keep users comfortable while helping the building meet LEED Silver standards for environmental sustainability.
The 16,000-foot three-story firehouse for Engine Company 277 and Ladder 12 represents a new generation of design that respects the history of the Fire Department while maximizing cost efficiency and productivity. The building uses precast concrete panels manufactured with recycled content, thereby reducing embodied greenhouse gas emissions. The perforated metal screen allows daylight to enter the interior while reducing heating and cooling costs.
DDC is working with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on an infrastructure project to improve stormwater drainage, reduce pollution from combined sewer overflows, and replace water mains in parts of Canarsie. The construction is concentrated around Flatlands Avenue, where a large concrete box culvert storm sewer is being installed that will feed into a new outfall at Fresh Creek. The project will include wetland restoration within the Fresh Creek Basin Nature Preserve.
The growing neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint got even safer with the addition of EMS Station 35 on Metropolitan Avenue near Roebling Street. The station is a two-story, 12,900-square-foot facility that can house four ambulances and an EMS command vehicle. The station’s exterior features a glass curtain wall with a honeycomb-patterned inner layer that allows light into the building while providing privacy for on duty staff. Perhaps the station’s most vivid design elements are its large, red front doors–the iconic symbol of FDNY facilities throughout the City. New York City has worked to increase the number of EMS stations in an effort to further lower response times and position resources where they are most needed, supporting the lifesaving work of the City’s emergency medical professionals.
The plaza is located along Humboldt Street in Williamsburg, featuring a permanent Percent for Art installation called “Plaza Perch” by Austin Thomas. This colorful installation includes benches made from reclaimed wood from Coney Island. The project has helped revitalize the street, giving pedestrians more access to public spaces.
The Reading Garden is located at the gated green space outside the library building on 431 6th Avenue in Park Slope, and functions as an amphitheater as well as a community gardening space. It hosts events for families and children, featuring educational and cultural programs that include storytelling and arts and crafts. It brings the diverse community together through a shared and open public space that is built to be sustainable as well.
In July 2016, DDC and the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) broke ground on the new 21,000-square-foot firehouse for Brooklyn’s Rescue Company 2 at 1815 Sterling Place in Crown Heights. The project will provide space for multiple FDNY vehicles, as well as ample space for tools, and special rescue gear such as SCUBA equipment. An interior space from ground to roof level will be a training area for the Company’s firefighters.
Rescue Company 2, one of FDNY’s five rescue companies, is a specially-trained unit that responds to a variety of unique emergencies including fires, building collapses, high-angle rescues, hazardous materials incidents, and water rescues. This space will enable the company to practice rescue scenarios that mimic conditions common to the City, using its height and associated elements of balconies, bridge, doorways, ladders, and stairs.
The historic Center is the largest African-American cultural institution in Brooklyn, located on the site of one of the first free black communities in the 19th century. In 2013, the Center expanded with a new 23,000-square-foot Education and Cultural Arts building that allowed it to grow its education, programming, and research capabilities, elevating its standing as one of the nation’s leading centers for African-American history and culture. The sustainably designed and constructed building earned the building LEED Gold-certified status, making it the only LEED-certified building in Central Brooklyn.
Located at the corner of Willoughby Street and Pearl Street in Downtown Brooklyn is a 14,667-square-foot pedestrian plaza. It features movable tables and chairs, bike racks, as well as planters and tree pits, giving pedestrians a piece of mind in a busy shopping area near Fulton Street and the MetroTech Center. The plaza increases pedestrian space and safety, beautifies the area, and encourages people to come together.