25 Kent

Hollwich Kushner as Architects

25 Kent is a social campus that brings innovators, startup founders, and tech leaders together in one collaborative workplace.

 

Taking cues from the neighborhood’s industrial character, the design stacks a series of brick forms that nod to the materials and proportions of the nearby warehouses. The floors are staggered, creating a ziggurat-shaped building that juts in and out as it together in one collaborative workplace. The short ends of the facade are capped in soaring floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the interiors with sunlight and provide commanding views over Manhattan and Brooklyn.

 

To create a bustling public core, a retail-lined pedestrian street goes straight through the building’s center.  Bookended by landscaped plazas, the walkway will connect upcoming Bushwick Inlet Park with the nearby plaza of the William Vale hotel. What was once a forbidding industrial waterfront is now transformed into a walkable district of parks and public space. Ground-floor retail, including cafes and restaurants, activates the surrounding areas and provides social spaces where people can come together informally.

 

“The way we work is changing. It’s time our office buildings followed suit. We invited the urban energy of Williamsburg directly into the center of the building, creating a social campus that connects entrepreneurs with the community” said Matthias Hollwich, Principal and Co-Founder of Hollwich Kushner (HWKN).

 

"This is a place where companies ranging from innovative startups to established tech leaders can come together and inspire each other.

 

Rather than generic buildings designed to shuffle employees to their sequestered desks efficiently, today’s entrepreneurs want their workplaces to be energetic and social environments that generate interaction and inspire them to do their best work," says Marc Kushner, Principal, and Co-Founder of Hollwich Kushner (HWKN).

 

Inside, the highly flexible floor plates are designed to support a wide variety of tenants, from young startups to tech leaders. The building combines several types of workspaces to offer environments tailored to each tenant’s particular needs. Open plan office floors offer shared co-working spaces. Fully-equipped makerspaces support prototyping and fabrication, inviting local industry into the building and further diversifying the tenant mix.

 

Glass-enclosed conference rooms and collaborative lounges throughout the building offer places for tenants to work together in a highly focused way.

The innovative H-shaped plan offers several key advantages over a generic donut office building. Instead of a typical 45-foot span between the core and the walls, the building achieves 70-foot spans with three-sided window exposure.

 

Distributing mechanical and circulation cores throughout the building created highly flexible floor plates that can be used by single tenants, two tenants, or adapted for a large quantity of multi-tenant configurations. Both wings of the H-shaped building feature their own circulation and mechanical cores, allowing them to be flexibly subdivided. Bridging the two wings is a shared central space that generates chance encounters between tenants and offers a place to socialize and collaborate informally.

25 Kent Street

Landscape Forms as ​Parc Centre Tables & Chairs, Parc Vue Litters
25 Kent Street is the eight-story, 500,000-square-foot new kid on the block. The ground-up office complex comprises an entire block in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. Shaped like an H, the building’s two identical vertical legs are connected by a through-block plaza that opens on each end to two privately owned public spaces. The building’s brick, glass, and metal façade reflect the character and industrial heritage of the neighborhood. Landscape architecture firm MPFP was tasked with designing the 25 Kent’s three plazas. MPFP Managing Principal Rick Parisi and Associate Rob Osterlof wanted the landscape architecture to connect to the building’s modern, industrial vocabulary. They turned to Landscape Forms’ Studio 431 to help engineer and manufacture the custom benches installed in the three plazas, interspersed with greenery that Brooklynites would gravitate to. “There are so few spaces like this in this neighborhood,” says Osterlof. “We wanted to create spaces where people can sit, socialize, and eat lunch. Spaces away from the office that people can visit without venturing out too far. Spaces that would be socially contextual with the neighborhood.”

Two custom bench types−one made of steel and Ipe wood and the other of precast concrete and Alaskan Yellow Cedar−were manufactured. In total, there are 43 benches in 19 different sizes and configurations. The variety of shapes, sizes, and materials creates a “dynamic space,” explains Osterlof, and seating options for “different activities, short and longer stays, and gathering, whether for one person or a group.” In addition to the custom benches, Landscape Forms Parc Center chairs, tables, and litter receptacles are located throughout the plaza areas.

One of MPFP’s original bench designs featured weathered blackened steel, but it proved to be expensive and difficult to fabricate. They opted instead for a steel structure with a textured black matte powdercoat and cantilevered Ipe slats. “We wanted an industrial feel, but we also wanted the benches to have a warm, comfortable feel,” says Osterlof. “The contrast between metal and hardwood was a nice marriage.”

The thickness of the cedar benches creates a juxtaposition to the sleek metal and cantilevered wood benches. Large blocks of laminated Alaskan Yellow Cedar nested into precast concrete slabs are a tie to the piers and pilings dotting the nearby Bushwick Inlet and Brooklyn Navy Yard.

MPFP’s first sketches called for every steel and Ipe bench to be a unique size; only the concrete and cedar benches were uniform in length. When Studio 431’s Chad Kendall reviewed the plans, he realized that unique profiles would translate to added cost and fabrication time. Kendall proposed a modular system that decreased the number of bench lengths but still met the linear feet seating codes. The approach maintained Parisi’s design vision but reduced the number of parts, making manufacturing more efficient and keeping the schedule moving and the project more cost effective. Engineering the benches in eight- to 12-foot sections aided in the metal bending process, which required forces of up to 110 tons per foot to form the ¾”-thick steel, and also made moving the heavy pieces during manufacturing and painting more manageable.

MPFP and Studio 431 have been frequent collaborators over the years, and Osterlof relies on the custom team’s skills and areas of expertise to make recommendations that will improve the product, manufacturing, and installation without compromising the design intent. He appreciated the attention to detail seen in solutions such as a support system under the Ipe slats that is aligned with the slats so “the wood really looks like it is floating. You don’t see the supports. Studio 431 helped us achieve that.” Other recommendations such as decreasing the number of bench sizes also improved the end result, says Osterlof. “Standardizing the sizes was not a compromise. We still accomplished the variety and also the linear feet requirement. It felt the same as our original. There’s something to be said about having some of the benches uniform in size; they express the same language. Studio 431 helped to make it a better product.”

Given the weight of the steel benches−the 30-foot long benches weigh about 3,700 pounds−it was important to fabricate them in sections to help installers lift and place them onsite without the time and expense of involving heavy machinery. “The weight and massiveness of the pieces added a level of complexity to this project,” says Kendall. “We mocked up an installation in our shop to test the installation process and the connections and fit before we broke them down and shipped to Brooklyn.” Osterlof appreciates the consideration Studio 431 gives to installation throughout the design and manufacturing process. “Studio 431 has a wealth of knowledge on how to install things,” he says. “They bridge the gap between the installation contractor and the design team. They understand the design team’s vision and figure out the best way to manufacture and install so that the design comes to reality. Their input made this project a success.”

“Awesome” is how Studio 431’s Mark Haase describes the collaboration with MPFP over the years. “They’ll give us an idea of what they want, but they leave it to us to figure out the nuts and bolts because they know that’s what we do best. They entrust us with their design, and we bring it to life.”
Project Credits
​Parc Centre Tables & Chairs, Parc Vue Litters
Architects
Landscape Architects
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrand
​Parc Centre Tables & Chairs, Parc Vue LittersLandscape Forms
Metal claddingPure + FreeForm
Product Spec Sheet
​Parc Centre Tables & Chairs, Parc Vue Litters
Metal cladding
Featured Projects
Latest Products
News
25 best architecture firms in Madrid
27 Jun 2022 News
25 best architecture firms in Madrid

Madrid is a center of gravity for European architecture. Spain’s capital city is host to an am... More

Lviv’s Radio Garage offers an experimental space for temporary exhibitions with a focus on radio, sound art, VR-art, and interactive media
25 Jun 2022 News
Lviv’s Radio Garage offers an experimental space for temporary exhibitions with a focus on radio, sound art, VR-art, and interactive media

In Lviv, Radio Garage is a media art centre and an experimental gallery for temporary exhibitions wi... More

Urban infill project Manifesto Market Andel activates an underutilized gap in Prague’s urban fabric
25 Jun 2022 News
Urban infill project Manifesto Market Andel activates an underutilized gap in Prague’s urban fabric

Located in Prague’s Andel District, Manifesto Market Andel is an urban infill project activati... More

Amsterdam’s iconic Droogbak building transformed into a 21st-century office space for a prestigious law firm
24 Jun 2022 News
Amsterdam’s iconic Droogbak building transformed into a 21st-century office space for a prestigious law firm

An iconic 19th-century building next to Amsterdam Central Station, Droogbak has been transformed int... More

Renovated hacienda-style villa in Belgium respects its history while exploring form and materials
24 Jun 2022 News
Renovated hacienda-style villa in Belgium respects its history while exploring form and materials

House VD-B by Graux & Baeyens architecten is a renovated hacienda-style villa in Evergem, Belgiu... More

Landmark urban renewal project comes to the heart of Bruges with the completion of The Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre (BMCC)
22 Jun 2022 News
Landmark urban renewal project comes to the heart of Bruges with the completion of The Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre (BMCC)

In the heart of the historic city of Bruges, The Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre (BMCC) is a... More

Award-winning New Museum of Ethnography by NAPUR Architect opens in Budapest
22 Jun 2022 News
Award-winning New Museum of Ethnography by NAPUR Architect opens in Budapest

Designed by NAPUR Architect, the recently opened New Museum of Ethnography in Budapest is a purpose-... More

New Royal College of Art campus by Herzog & de Meuron unveiled in Battersea
22 Jun 2022 News
New Royal College of Art campus by Herzog & de Meuron unveiled in Battersea

The Royal College of Art unveiled its new campus in Battersea, London this past month.  With a... More