architecture, urban design, planning

Congress Street Facade Replacement

The facade of this Congress Street row house was originally replaced in the 1960's with a white faux-brick, ashlar bond pattern that involved the complete removal of all original details, moldings, metal work and the cornice. A probe beneath this surface material revealed that the existing bricks had been completely ruined as a result. This damaging facade design was cited in the landmark designation report as an example of why a landmark designation was needed for Cobble Hill.

The Landmark Commission agreed that applying a brick textured stucco treatment to the facade would be less authentic than creating a wholly new brownstone finish—which would have been the solution had the facade been damaged a century ago. Following this directive the house was designed in a refined Italianate style to match houses nearby.

The project involved the design of a completely new facade with brownstone / stucco detailing instead of the brick detailing that appears in the 1929 tax photo. The front entrance, details around the windows, and the new railings copy details of houses in the neighborhood. The cornice was constructed of fiberglass to match the scale and rhythm of the houses on either side, and to capture, in as much as possible, the form of the cornice from the 1929 tax photo.

Location: Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, NY

Client: Anonymous


Landmarks Application and full presentation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Complete redesign of the front facade.

Window replacement / New Railings / Brownstone detailing / New Cornice design and detailing.