While the fight over Bushwick’s proposed Rheingold re-zoning continues to get uglier, there’s plenty of other development moving forward in the neighborhood, some of it excellent and groundbreaking, some of it strange and hideous.
First off, there’s this planned expansion of an existing church on Bushwick Avenue, picked up by Brownstoner, the (vaguely insane) rendering for which essentially looks like a bunch of new apartment units stacked on top of the pre-existing church structure. It is… not the most tasteful or architecturally interesting thing we’ve ever seen. Not the end of the world even if it does turn out exactly like the initial, unappealing plans, but probably not something anyone’ll be trotting out as an A+ example of an organic addition to the neighborhood, either.
Then there are the two planned “passive houses” written up by Real Estate Weekly, one at 424 Melrose, the other at 803 Knickerbocker. These are actually a pretty huge deal. Once built, they’d be the first structures in the borough (other than one Park Slope brownstone) to qualify for “passive house” status, meaning they adhere to a “rigorous and strict standard of construction that integrates architectural design, and with the use of sunlight, an airtight exterior and insulation, creates energy-efficient buildings.”
The Melrose building, which is set to open next month, will reportedly use 10 percent as much energy as most comparable buildings in New York without incurring higher construction costs, and has been developed as an affordable housing project by the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and the United Mennonite Church, which own the site.
All of which is actually pretty incredible on its own, but especially when you compare it to all the other dubious, short-sighted condo projects planned for the neighborhood. Now, if only someone could do something about that franken-church design, we’d be on a roll.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.