top of page



450 Warren


Brooklyn, New York, United States



Florian Idenburg (Principal-in-Charge), Jing Liu (Principal)


Ted Baab (Senior Associate), Karilyn Johanesen (Senior Associate), Deok Kyu Chung (Designer), Alek Tomich (Designer), Danny Wei (Designer




Iwan Baan


450 Warren frees urban multi-unit dwelling from traditional protocols. Where typical market-rate housing models consist of efficient boxes atop many amenities, 450 Warren engages with what makes the city more livable: conversations with the outdoors and others. Three courtyards create porosity, bringing light and greenery deep within the site. Textured, rotated masonry winds around each building, its shadows registering the movement of the sun and the changing seasons. A central outdoor atrium replaces an indoor lobby, crossed by open-air walkways laced with a nearly transparent woven metal mesh. This porous enclosure creates an ever-changing environment that reflects the light and seasons.

The building nurtures a balance between the dynamic of community and the privacy of home. Each of the eighteen apartments enters directly from the exterior. A front porch begins the transition to private space, reminiscent of the Brooklyn stoop. Residents walk outside to access the elevator as though the street begins at their front door. A garden circulates the building as a hallway, corridors and stairs move outdoors. Neighbors see one another’s comings and goings across the way, and a shared entry courtyard encourages chat.

Units are a gradient of indoors and out, defined by their relationship to the landscape filling the courtyards. Generous terraces extend each living space outdoors. Intimate balconies create a buffer from the street. Courtyards allow windows on three sides of every apartment, allowing for abundant natural light and cross-ventilation.


Boerum Hill is typical of Brooklyn residential neighborhoods, with tree-lined streets of historic brownstone and brick townhouses neatly pressed up against one another. Once an immigrant community, the last few decades have seen an influx of buyers purchasing historic homes and renovating them into modern apartments and single-family homes.

To the west, a swath of four city blocks makes up the Gowanus Houses, a public housing project maintained by The New York City Housing Authority. Here, concentration moves vertically, with imposing brick structures ranging from 4 to 14 stories high.

To the south, the rapidly changing neighborhood of Gowanus borders the Gowanus Canal. Once an industrial hub, the famously polluted waterway’s recent environmental rehabilitation and rezoning have created a housing boom.

At the intersection of these sits 450 Warren, an experiment in city living and an exercise in rebuilding the relationship between urban society and the natural environment. Prioritizing outdoor space in the design creates abundant opportunities to introduce nature as a defining fabric. Working in partnership with The Brooklyn Grange, an urban rooftop farm in the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard, and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, extensive native greenery is introduced in the courtyards and atrium to naturally purify the air. A passive irrigation system irrigates the gardens using rainwater. The resulting space, as functional as it is naturally beautiful, is anchored in sustainable practice. A fervent response to the shortcomings of past urban development, the project models thoughtful, future-minded design for improved quality of life alongside environmental stewardship.


450 Warren has been the recipient of several awards and nominations in architectural design, in addition to being warmly and enthusiastically featured in the press. Every unit has been sold, with most unit owners currently enjoying residence in the building. The immediate success of the building has fostered a partnership between our firm and developers Tankhouse, with whom we are currently working on an additional three housing projects. Units have already been sold in buildings currently under construction.

In addition to industry excitement, 450 Warren has received attention from city and state agencies as a case study for innovative housing practices. The NYC Housing Authority, NYS Research and Development Authority, and NYC Department of Buildings have taken an active interest, and conversations are underway for the design of an affordable housing initiative employing many of its principles. This to us, is a clear, heartening indicator that the paradigm is shifting away from outdated modes of living into a forward-thinking, holistic approach, prioritizing quality of life alongside sustainable practice.

Staying true to its community-centered ethos, the ground floor of 450 Warren is also providing space for cultural innovation as a new home to the art initiative Guilty by Association. Centered on inclusivity, access for underrepresented artists, and the redistribution of wealth, GBA seeks to re-engineer an antiquated system of art-buying channels, empowering unseen artists to lead the next generation.

We are very proud that in its short lifespan, 450 Warren has become its own thriving ecosystem of innovative and revolutionary practice.

bottom of page