New Brutalism: ODA’s Stacked Concrete Cubes Form a “Vertical Village” in New York

The sculptural design stands out in this up-and-coming neighborhood of Long Island City.

Sydney Franklin Sydney Franklin

For their recently completed construction in Queens, New York architecture firm ODA thought outside the box or rather, they were inspired by it. 2222 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City features a three-dimensional composition of poured concrete, cubed units stacked up in a modular form.

Images by Miguel de Guzmán

Lightly referencing, Moshe Safdie’s Habitat ‘67, this “vertical village” is the first of its kind designed by the firm in an effort to enliven the streetscape and create an artful structure in an up-and-coming neighborhood.

Image by Pavel Bendov

Situated directly across from MoMA PS1, the 11-story apartment complex houses 175 units varying in size, as seen from the protruding boxes along its street-facing façades. With the main façade set back 10 feet from the street, the luxury residential building divides itself up into a grid of 12 foot modules that serves to break down the monumental scale of the building and provides a template for programmatic variations inside.

Diagrams via ODA New York

Tenants can choose from four apartment typologies: studios with one bay, one-bedrooms with two bays, two bedrooms with three bays and three bedrooms with four bays. The studio apartments project seven feet beyond the façade, allowing the cantilevered volumes to create corner windows for the apartments above. The project also boasts 50 terraced apartments and 30 percent more outdoor space than the entire building’s footprint.

From the outside, the building forms a sporadic pattern of cubed spaces. The wide-frame windows that signal each apartment take up the majority of the façade and help supply ample light into each unit.

Image by Pavel Bendov (left) and Bojune Kwon (right)

The architects refer to the construction as their first project in designing a “vertical village.” The sculptural building stands out amongst the other high-rise, glass buildings going up in Long Island City. It’s industrial aesthetic, however, is thematic of the nearby all-concrete, low-rise buildings like PS1. This idea also carries over into the interior with the design of a triple-height lobby featuring exposed concrete.

When riding the elevated train in Western Queens during golden hour, the seemingly pixelated surface of the complex comes into focus, revealing a pragmatic design with an ethereal quality to it.

Image by Pavel Bendov

Without any constructions of similar height yet in its immediate vicinity, the stand-out project at 2222 Jackson Avenue soaks up the end-of-day glow and serves as a large light-source throughout the night.

Building amenities include landscaped terraces, a sky-lit indoor swimming pool, fitness center and mezzanine lounge with sweeping views of the city.