Visitors can get a flavor for the time periods that have come and gone as they stroll the streets of NYC and observe the various building architectural designs of past decades. Developer Ron Hershco and Ismael Leyva Architects have made a contribution to the architectural style that is distinctly New York City with the addition of the 21-story 85 Flatbush Avenue building, featuring 108 units, a swimming pool, and retail space. Additionally, Mr Hershco was responsible for the construction of Oro (a pair of towers: 35 and 40 feet tall, respectively), which was built by Plaza Construction and designed by Leyva. The complex has 515 condominiums.
In 2007 rezoning had opened the door to condominium developers in Brooklyn, but the shift then was away from luxury condos and waterfront high-rises to affordable housing. Some worried that the economic and ethnic diversity that made the borough so popular to begin with would be lost unless smart choices were made in growth and development. Brooklyn was certainly going through a transformation. According to U.S. Census data 9,191 permits were issued for privately owned residential units in 2006, as compared to 9,028 in 2005, the highest among all five boroughs.
The needs and trends of the time have an impact on architecture. New York City was founded in 1664, became the capital of the U.S. from 1785 to 1790, and has been the largest American city since then. With such a large population it comes as no surprise that the city has one of the most diverse architectures in the country, from Art Deco to Postmodernism styles. Two popular buildings display characteristics of Art Deco (1920-1930): The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building. The Woolworth, another popular NYC building, with its stone facade and angular aesthetic, gives us a sampling of Gothic Revival architecture, popular long before Art Deco, in the 1740s.
The Flatiron Building is built in Chicago School design, which was the first style to use steel frames, allowing builders to reach high in the sky. The recognizable wedge shape of this historic building marks the innovation of a skeletal structure that is capable of holding such great weight. Many other cities have borrowed this style to fashion their own smaller versions.
Other architectural designs that can be found in the high-rises of NYC include the Historicist style of the Liberty Tower, Brutalism as evidenced in the Ruppert Tower, and Postmodernism as seen in the Broad Financial Center. Many other classic designs exist among the many NYC buildings. And in modern day, other styles follow the classic ones of yesteryears.
Developers, builders, and architects have an awesome responsibility to the city, its residents, history, and future. People like Mr. Hershco are aware of the conflicting needs being addressed: there are housing needs to accommodate the growing population, environmental concerns to address, political and legal red tape to untangle, staying true to the look and feel of the landscape, and economic issues to keep in mind, among others. The architecture of an area tells a story and developers like Mr. Hershco help write that story.