NYC Concert Venue Gets Green Roof

TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2019

Transformed by architecture firm HLW Architects (New York City), concert venue Brooklyn Steel is topped with a green roof innovated prior to the state’s new Climate Mobilization Act, and doubles as an acoustical lid for the building.

A former steel fabrication factory, the structure was consulted by Milrose Consultants (New York City) to ensure the building was up to the 2014 edition of The New York City Building Code.

About the Project

Developed by New York concert company Bowery Presents, Brooklyn Steel’s construction began in July 2016 after four years of trying to secure a location and obtain necessary permits. At the time, The New York Times reported that the company’s principals, Jim Glancy and John Moore, believed the new venue would be the largest general-admission concert hall in Brooklyn.

“We think this is the missing link in the city,” Glancy said. “In the 1,000-to-3,000 range, there aren’t that many venues for a city this size, and there hasn’t really been anything new in a decade.”

Throughout the project’s design and construction process, the team had multiple code issues to address, including  barrier-free compliance, accessibility and fire safety, as well as making the building structurally sound and able to tolerate miscellaneous weather conditions.

The venue officially opened on April 6, 2017, with a five-show run from LCD Soundsystem.

The Design

Within the former 20,000-square-foot steel fabrication warehouse, the design encompasses a raw industrial quality that showcases original exposed brick, stone and metals whilst incorporating new polished glass, tile and other stone materials.

The floor rakes down to a re-configurable 39-foot-by-24-foot stage, allowing to vary capacity between 1,200 and 1,800 people as needed. Toward the back of the venue is a double-height pre-function space, complete with balcony railings spread like a “V” shape as they near the stage.

“Sound and sightlines are always our biggest priority,” said Moore. “We wanted to have everyone be able to see well, but also to have some soul and character to it.”

Painted with “quiet” dark greys and blacks, the interior of the venue also incorporates vibrant “loud” yellows as a “wayfinding element and recalls the very idea of sound itself,” wrote HLW in the project’s description.

The venue also includes a main lobby, three bars fashioned from original shop scrap metal and repurposed exhaust fans, a mezzanine with coat check and bathrooms, an exterior courtyard, a multi-tiered acoustically tuned performance hall, greens rooms and ancillary support spaces.

Like Barclays Center, Brooklyn Steel also features a green roof growing atop the building to mitigate sound transmission from outside of the building. The eco-friendly roof-top is made up of multiple types of sedum—much like what you’d see for a succulent plant.

Head of Marketing for Bowery Presents Charley Magrew said, “We can crank up these speakers, we’ve got wall insulation and insulation layers in the walls so that as we turn up the volume, the neighbors do not hear it and it keeps all the sound in.”

In addition to sound purposes, the roof also helps to cool down the city by mitigating the urban heat island effect, cuts energy costs, absorbs air pollution, reduces stormwater runoff and promotes biodiversity. The green roof is also Brooklyn’s only urban bee farming cooperative.

“It allowed us to go almost three feet higher than code allowed normally,” said Scott Raved of Bowery Presents.

“Containment is just a ratio of air gap and mass, more of one and less of the other, so that air gap gave us the ability to have the green roof medium be an adequate amount of mass, whereas if we just wanted to put decoupled mass right on top of the existing roof, it would have overloaded the existing truss, columns and footings. It was a really good solution to our problem.”

A little more than a year after opening, in September 2018, Brooklyn Steel won BQDA Brooklyn People’s Choice Award through the American Institute of Architects.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Commerial/Architectural; Completed projects; Design; Design - Commercial; Green roofs; NA; North America

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