Terra-cotta in context: 1908 Dime Savings bank between past and present

Nearly ten years, Downtown Brooklyn's City point a three phase, 1.8millon square-foot mixed-use development building was completed of recent. It features a special assemblage of housing towers, one assigned to market-rate housing, with another predominantly containing sustainable housing- atop a shared retail podium. Constructed by New-York based building firm COOKFOX, the development is adjacent to the planned Willoughby Square Park, Albee square, and the significant 1908 Dime savings Bank. The architects explained that the project is about "trying together Downtown's Brooklyn's grand past with its thriving future." This is expressed through a dynamic faceted massing strategy that answers to a triangular corner lot on Fulton street, and a white pale gray terra-cotta rainscreen that subtly emulates the marbled exterior of the century-old bank next door. COOKFOX spokesperson Jared Gilbert said when the project started in 2007 only 200units of housing was in the neighborhood, which now boasts tens of thousands of units. "we needed to create something that met this new vision of Downtown Brooklyn, which is that it is a full operating service 24-hour neighborhood."

As architects speedily confront the issue of contextualism of our cities, terra-cotta rainscreen maker Shildan is seeing an enormous rise in demand."we come across many terra-cotta projects each year, with project getting larger and more difficult. Designers are pushing the envelope to develop more complicated shapes, details, and custom finishes, and it's not only the architects and owners who need to be satisfied. We work closely with various types of administrators, historic commissions, city developers, government boards and the committees, etc. Those with settled interest in viewing the entire context unfold cohesively."

City point's phase one retail base is made of a typical stick built facade with layers of waterproofing and insulation over the stick built metal stud construction. An applied rainscreen system was installed by Shildan by first mounting a framework of sub-girts with Integral clips to the facade. The open joint terra-cotta panels are then suspend off the system.
The architects joined two terra-cotta extrusions into the design that are finished in a sequence of glazes and colors that helps to randomize the facade.

The wall panels are finished in a standing zinc with staggered arrangements varying from 5-inches, 10-inches and 20-inches. Randomly finding the zinc standing seams helped the architects visually conceal large 1-inch joints while copying a more varied natural pattern. "The north side might end up weathering different from the south side. This was all done on purpose. In order to watch this material change, we have randomly shared stainless steel panels that will stay bright and shiny."