DESIGNING 1 HOTEL BROOKLYN BRIDGE’S ROOFTOP BAR AND INTEGRATING ITS DOG LEG PLUNGE POOL INTO A BROADER “PRAISE POEM TO BROOKLYN’S WATERFRONT” REQUIRED THAT PROJECT ARCHITECT, INTERIOR DESIGNER, AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT WORK COLLABORATIVELY
BY MATT SCANLON
Plans for 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge and the adjoining Pierhouse condo complex had to run something of a press and public opinion gauntlet. As the 100 foot buildings arose over the course of 2015, and, inch by inch, obstructed Manhattan views from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, the advocacy organization Save the View Now and its vocal constituency argued in court that the project exceeded height limits. Even as the New York Supreme Court allowed the project to continue, one of its judges, Lawrence Knipel, wrote that, “The casual passerby walking along Brooklyn’s majestic promenade is struck with an indelible impression that these buildings are simply too large.”
So, Marvel Architects, which designed the structure and shell, landscape designers Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and interior designers INC Architecture & Design were all painstaking in efforts to apply site sensitivity in other respects. The combined effort aimed to produce, as INC’s project description puts it, “a praise poem dedicated to Brooklyn’s waterfront… [with a] purpose built, made to last aesthetic driven by smart problem solving and an expressive use of materials with a layered, easygoing hand.”
To us, nowhere is that approach better applied than in the hotel’s 1 Rooftop Garden & Bar. Opened in May of last year and an exercise in clean lines and unbroken floor spaces, it manages to be somehow at once compact yet spacious seeming. Drew Stuart, INC Architecture & Design field director and partner, explained some of the challenges in achieving that duality.
“We designed four bars throughout the hotel, and each came with its own set of challenges,” said Stuart. “The toughest thing about the rooftop was how to handle equipment refrigeration compressors, taps, storage so that it didn’t look like a constellation of metal squares and other visual interruptions. And this is where collaborating with the landscape architect was vital. Together, we came up with a way to conceal a lot of this stuff underneath planting mass, for example. All visitors see are mounds of plants, but there are refrigeration compressors tucked into there.”
Conversely, what needed to be emphasized, of course, were the stellar views of the East River and lower Manhattan, as well as the fascinating but oddly shaped dog leg plunge pool.
“That was very brand driven…the pool. We were all a little skeptical about it, to be honest, but Barry Sternlicht [Chairman and CEO of the developer, Starwood Capital Group, and the founder of 1 Hotels], said ‘You can’t have a hotel of this caliber without some kind of pool feature.’ The actual shape is something that Marvel has the credit for. We [INC Architecture] tend to be a little more rectilinear in our thinking, but they really pushed the idea that you have this inverted corner, which is kind of an odd thing to have in a building, so why not celebrate that at the water’s edge? Now, I think it looks terrific [laughs].”
Themed cocktail highlights include the Poolside (Absolut Elyx mixed with soda, watermelon, and cucumber juice) and the Heatstroke (Avion Blanco Tequila, mezcal, pineapple, agave, and lime). e six taps rotate brands (pitchers will be available, too), but in May will certainly pour Brooklyn Lager from Brooklyn Brewery, Ol’ Factory Pils from Stratford, CT’s Two Roads Brewing Co., and Effortless Grapefruit IPA from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. In Elmsford, NY. Can selection is tight, our favorite Easy Blonde Ale from the East Village based Alphabet City Brewing Company. Bottle service is available, too, with labels like Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Champagne and Don Julio Añejo tequila on hand.
Fare is a collection of smallish bites, such as a Cheeseburger (on “Martin’s roll,” with white cheddar and “backyard sauce), Black Bean Burger with white cheddar, and End’s Meat Sausage on a split top bun with sauerkraut and beer mustard.
Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, Rooftop
60 Furman Street / 877.803.1111 /