Rejecting the Monotony of the Glass-and-Steel Look | Via
With the price of land and construction ever rising, a vast majority of the numerous residential construction projects in Williamsburg over the past decade have been decidedly risk-averse in terms of design. Most developers have chosen the same loft-like, boxy, glass-and-steel look, creating could-be-anywhere streetscapes on formerly distinctive and gritty blocks.
Yet amid the monotony, there are some owners and designers doing different work. Some of it is driven by the neighborhood’s transformation from unconventional to fashionable, attracting wealthy, artistic types who want private homes that are both luxurious and high-design. Other projects exist as a cascading effect of Williamsburg’s increasing population and wealth, including new styles of public buildings and experiments in sustainability like Mr. Boyle’s, created as antidotes to profit-driven development.
Mr. Boyle, a self-described handyman who built what he said was the first shipping container house in the city, completed his 1,600-square-foot home after three years of construction and struggles with the Buildings Department over matters like the size of the lot (a relatively small 20 feet by 40 feet) and the structure’s fire rating. The house’s materials and its furnishings are nearly all found or recycled. The six steel shipping containers that form the shell of the building cost $1,500 each.
Mr. Boyle: you’re doing it right.