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242 Gates (Eli's Home)

Lionel's Monroe

Central Park West

Lower Manhattan Business Office

Cobble Hill












Eli on Architecture

242 Gates Ave

The project came about as a way to give myself an informal, tactile education in architecture and building. I was trained as an engineer, but I always felt curious about the built environment, partly its appearance, of course, but moreso how it is put together and how it affects us psychologically, emotionally, and socially. I came across this building about two and a half years ago and it was a wreck - no working plumbing or electrical above the parlor floor, every window was shot as was every flight of stairs, all three roofs leaked liked sieves, and it was snowing in the top stairwell. Still, I loved the scale of the building and the details, and it was undoubtedly a big project, bigger than I could probably handle, which made it that much more enticing.

I collaborated on the design with Public, a firm from San Diego, California, where I lived before moving to New York. We knew getting light in the middle of the building was important, as was taking advantage of the building's stepbacks to create outdoor space and we wanted to preserve some of the building's sweet ruin and add modern elements carefully and in balance with the building's delicate detail. This was probably the hardest and most time-consuming part, creating details in the language of modern materials and construction realities that didn't feel faux-historic or forced. Hopefully we managed to succeed in a few places - whether or not we did, I got my education, and opened up all kinds of possibilities in my head for what and how to build in a brownstone.