Crye Precision, a tactical gear manufacturer for the US military, commissioned Camber Studio to update their Brooklyn headquarters with a series of amenity spaces. Camber’s design consists of eight spaces, which float throughout the building, which is one of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s oldest and largest. The centerpiece is a gym and fitness studio located in the middle of the facility that forms a tunnel over an elevated walkway. Additionally, the project includes a series of satellite spaces for informal meetings and rest which cantilever off of the mezzanine wings out into the large central hall.
Camber’s design draws inspiration from the innovation and craftsmanship of Crye’s products. After studying how Crye works with textiles, Camber developed similar techniques for working with building materials. For example, the tessellated tunnel feature was made with hundreds of plywood triangles which fold and drape over a structural frame with flexible hinge connections. Also taking cues from apparel design, the geometry of the climbing wall feature was derived from a 3D model of the Grand Canyon which was then cut and folded like a pattern for a garment. Along the perimeter of the amenity boxes, the plywood cladding panels extend off of structural framing to appear like a fabric wrap.
The project’s eight spaces are cut from the same cloth, so to speak, but each has a spatial quality calibrated to its unique programming. The fitness studio is meant to feel expansive with a large mirror wall, warm wood floors, and open ceiling to welcome natural light. The crossfit gym has a more enclosed feel with banks of equipment, a towering climbing wall, massive gantry crane overhead and black rubber floors. Connecting the two spaces is the sculptural tunnel which has a compressed, almost cave-like quality in contrast to the main hall it traverses. The five surrounding balcony boxes are each designed for a different use and level of privacy and include playful cut-outs to frame specific views of the historic industrial building and visual connections across the facility.