The Manhattan Bridge is the spine of the Dumbo Historic District, its monumental stone anchor as essential to local character as brick buildings and Belgian-block streets. In recent years, the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century factories and warehouses “down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass” have been reborn as residential lofts and commercial spaces. Front & York is a new residential development inspired by the evolution of this postindustrial setting; like the bridge’s stone anchor, it is a bold contribution to the urban fabric that is emblematic of the neighborhood.
Front & York occupies a full block; its total area exceeds one million square feet, but thoughtful massing reduces the perceived size. All four facades are pulled back 18 feet from the property line to create a generous new pedestrian zone lined with street-level retail spaces framed with metal arches recalling those on the rear facade of the Scholastic Building. Modeled after old reinforced-concrete warehouses, the design draws clear parallels to Dumbo’s historic architecture. The mixed-use base, which wraps around a multitiered, parklike courtyard, complements the scale of adjacent warehouse buildings, while the towers rising from the northwestern and southeastern corners align with recent developments nearby—and with the towers of the Manhattan Bridge. Front & York is clad in brick with a rigorous grid of operable factory-style windows framed by a continuous concrete superstructure. Inside, both the rental apartments and condominium units incorporate high ceilings, refined finishes, monumental marble slabs, and custom fixtures.
The former factories of Dumbo were built first from slow-burning timber and brick, then reinforced concrete, and eventually steel, reflecting industrial architecture in the United States. Continuing this architectural trajectory, Front & York is an exemplar of contemporary industrial-style architecture.
Image credit: Williams New York