Though primarily known as Wiliamsburg’s only first-run movie house, this project is in actuality an expansive 23,000 square foot mixed-use building with three floors of residential apartments above the cinemas, bar, café commercial kitchen housed in the retrofitted brick warehouse below. All of the apartments have access to outdoor space in the form of private roof decks at the penthouse level and shared courtyard access for the floors below. Caliper Studio designed all phases of the project from the earliest design studies through the construction process. More images and architects’ description after the break.
In addition to designing the theater and apartments, Caliper Studio fabricated several major building components, including the steel and glass residential lobby floor, the linear awning element and the signature zinc and cast-glass LED facade.
Facade Design and Fabrication
The building features a custom zinc panel façade on the three upper stories with 2,000 cast glass disks backlit by low voltage LED lights and arrayed in an irregular pattern that sweeps down to the entrance of the cinema. The new naturally weathered zinc façade above complements the yellow brick of the existing portion of the building at street level.
The façade’s distinctive organic pattern was generated algorithmically using evolutionary techniques. Thousands of lines of RhinoScript allowed for an iterative design process in which generations of patterns were evaluated based on visual criteria (variability and density for example) within a framework that required adherence to basic fabrication constraints. The same custom computational tools used in the design phase were then capitalized upon to automate the production of digital files used for CNC fabrication.
The existing building footprint occupies the entire lot between Metropolitan Avenue and North First Street which provided the opportunity to give the three story addition an “L” shape creating apartments of different shapes and a roof terrace directly above the main cinema.
The décor is composed of repurposed and vintage items, with each theater and bar space given their own aesthetic focus. The café includes old barbershop cabinets in place of traditional liquor shelves, taxidermy on the wall, and custom tables and banquets constructed from reclaimed materials. A studio prop Marquee, reminiscent of old movie houses from a forgotten era, frames the lobby bar. The two larger theaters have car bucket seats originally designed in the 1950’s by Ford Motor Company. The small screening room has seats rescued from a Masonic Temple and customized with wheels for mobility, useful for when the room transforms into the lounge after-hours. Each of the theaters has custom designed two-person underlit tables, created specifically to simultaneously compliment movie watching and dining without distraction.
The zinc panels are made from laser-cut and bent pre-weathered zinc from VMZINC and The cast glass lenses were hand made in the Czech Republic.
Architect: Caliper Studio
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, United States
Structural Engineer: Office of Structural Design
MEP Engineers: F Cruz Engineering PE
Acoustic Consultant: Acoustic Dimensions
A/V Consultant: G. Iffith
Laser Cutting: Maloya Laser
General Contractor: Noble Construction
Photography: Ty Cole