DUMBO Architect Robert Scarano, Master of the “Ugly Brooklyn Condo” Aesthetic, Still Banned from Building

10/26/2011 10:35 AM |

Robert Scaranos headquarters.
  • Robert Scarano’s headquarters.

Robert Scarano, the Brooklyn-born architect who works out of a Jay Street building whose pointy rooftop addition (pictured) he designed himself, is the master of the ugly condo look. So much so that in 2010 the Department of Buildings barred him from filing any new projects. Scarano appealed the decision earlier this year and was denied, and now Crain’s reports that Brooklyn’s most prolific architect has been denied his appeal one last time.

On Tuesday the New York State Court of Appeals ruled against the architect’s most recent bid to have the 2010 decision banning him from filing documents like permit applications and construction plans with the Department of Buildings reversed. Scarano has been on the DOB’s bad side since 2006, when his customary defiance of zoning laws and building codes became especially egregious, and all the more so due to the prodigious number of projects he was undertaking at the time.

The decision isn’t a reflection on the architect’s objectionable aesthetic, strictly speaking. In a statement yesterday, Buildings Department Commissioner Robert LiMandri said:

Today’s decision sends a clear message that there are serious consequences for those who flout the law to make a profit. In his attempts to circumvent the City’s Building Code and Zoning Resolution, Mr. Scarano showed a disregard for the laws that ensure safety and quality of life for all New Yorkers.

Scarano, whose buildings are concentrated in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope (especially along Fourth Avenue) and lower Manhattan, has previously suggested that the ban could make his firm financially unsustainable. But as a court noted in a case earlier this year, other architects in Scarano’s firm can still file plans. So while Brooklyn’s master of condo ugly has been outright banned, there’s nothing stopping his underlings from putting their names on his latest designs.

(Brownstoner)

2 Comment

  • This is entirely a vanity procedure that Scarano is “banned” from. In sum, he himself cannot personally sign with his own signature the documents and filings necessary to proceed on labor and construction in any of “his” projects. He can simply have any person working with him do so who is appropriately licensed. You noted it yourself, “But as a court noted in a case earlier this year, other architects in Scarano’s firm can still file plans. So while Brooklyn’s master of condo ugly has been outright banned, there’s nothing stopping his underlings from putting their names on his latest designs.” Of course, when it comes to architecture and urban design, vanity can be everything–but his being “banned” from any of his works is entirely superficial.

  • Though I wish to add that I share in the spirit of the journalist here who “sighs with relief” at any measure against Scarano. If only someone could dislodge that ugly stick Scarano has beaten his buildings with.