Fort Greene

A first look at the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park school building

December 10, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This is Jonathan Marvel's vision for 664 Pacific St., an apartment building with a 100,000-square-foot public school in it. Rendering by Marvel Architects
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Prospect Heights residents got their first look at the building where Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park’s public school will be located.

Architect Jonathan Marvel presented his design for 664 Pacific St. at a Community Update Meeting held Wednesday night at the Shirley Chisholm State Office Building at 55 Hanson Place.

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Marvel Architects’ rendering of the planned 26-story, market-rate rental apartment building with a 100,000-square-foot school in it was released to the media on Wednesday as well.

Five floors of the school will be above ground and two will be in the basement. The school entrance will be on Sixth Avenue, and the residential entrance on Pacific Street.

The building will be set back 23 feet to create a wider-than-required sidewalk for kids to line up outside the school, Marvel said.

Meeting attendees had lots of questions about the school — such as where the buses would pick up and drop off students and why it was okay to have the school entrance on chaotic Sixth Avenue. But answering them was outside Marvel’s purview.

Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council requested that the city School Construction Authority be invited to a Community Board meeting to answer questions about the school.

The building on B15, as this site is called, is the sixth residential tower to get underway at the 22-acre development where Barclays Center arena opened in 2012. Forest City Ratner is the developer in a joint venture with Chinese government-owned Greenland Group, which has a 70 percent stake in 15 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers.

The school and residential space are essentially two buildings, Marvel told reporters before the meeting began.

“One of the greatest challenges of all time is to put one building on top of another,” he said.

Though shorter than towers planned for Atlantic Avenue, 664 Pacific will be much taller than existing buildings nearby. To make 664 Pacific appear less massive, Marvel split up its façade into nine panels, he said at the meeting.

“The building has nine faces,” he explained.

It will be made of nine different shades of gray glazed brick, with paler tones at the top of the building to bounce sunlight back into the neighborhood.

There will be 323 apartments in the 272-foot structure, a city Buildings Department partial permit issued on Dec. 2 indicates.

A resident asked why Marvel didn’t use traditional brick that’s found in the neighborhood. He replied that old-fashioned brick is great for low-rise buildings but “starts to weep water” into a building that’s tall.

Marvel knows a thing or two about this particular construction material. His family owned a brickyard in upstate Newburgh that made bricks used in the construction of the Empire State Building and the McCarren Park pool.

Another meeting attendee lamented that new Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers are going to block current residents’ views of the sky.

Marvel said people will be able to see the reflection of the sky in windows which will cover 40 to 45 percent of the building’s surface.

In September, the City Council okayed B15 as the location of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park’s planned 616-seat public school — despite residents’ concerns about the property’s proximity to the arena, a police station and a fire station.  

A coalition of community groups including Community Education Council 13 launched a campaign last summer to convince the de Blasio administration to make the new school be a middle school called M.S. OneBrooklyn, with a focus on arts and culture, a comprehensive science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum and dual-language studies.

According to Norman Oder’s blog Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report, the city Department of Education’s tentative plan is for the B15 school to serve both elementary and middle-school students.


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