Empire Engine firehouse is a holdout of a bygone era, surrounded by some of the fastest transforming residential blocks in Brooklyn.
We collaborated with Julian LaVerdiere and Erica Hohf, owners and designers, to craft an architectural expression of their curated design ideas and concepts, amplifying the history of the place.
The project began wtih structural stabilization of the building and preservation of the historic facade, then a full commercial and residential renovation. The residence is topped with a formal roof garden and hardscape of serpentine pavers and water features, including a flooded structural glass skylight and japanese soaking tub.
The design is a reflection on symmetry and contrast, incorporating art from the owner’s collection and influences from their personal work and travels. The garden expresses the integrity of the structural system and the sensory qualities of natural materials, bringing light in shadow.
The street art gallery is a reflection of the current state of Bushwick as a neighborhood of painted warehouses, an absurd proposal to create a home for the current commercial state of urban art.
Graffiti is a complicated and rich subject in New York. Our work in Bushwick has challenged us to think of graffiti as a nuisance and an asset.
Over time, what was once called graffiti has broadened its scope to include a range of acts of art- from vandalism to commercial advertising. Our intent isn’t to have a one-sided critical stance on the role of street art in the city, but rather to provide a fantastical place to ponder the art’s value. We designed a gallery that uses industrial equipment to display, promote and sell street-decorated wall assemblies as aesthetic "found objects". Bulletproof glass panels enclose the space. These are detachable and available for sale when they are covered with enough quality graffiti to make them valuable.
The type and reason for the art doesn’t matter. It’s all for sale.
Bushwick is a painted neighborhood where street artists use walls as canvases. Instead of using paint, we used materials to react to the nature of the place.
Bushwick Motorcycle Garage is a place to work on bikes and host parties. We transformed a marble shop in an industrial zone of Brooklyn into a courtyard and flexible space equipped to host a variety of events.
Years worth of marble dust, graffiti, moss, and stains exhibit the passage of time on the existing walls. Playing against this, our design uses refined materials and assemblies, custom-milled, polished, integrated, articulated. The cedar panels slide to form a flexible indoor/outdoor space. The space is daylit from above. The project is hidden in an alley, behind a steel gate which is regularly and respectfully overpainted by street artists.
This project won the Brooklyn AIA Design Award of Excellence in Adaptive Reuse and was published in several well-regarded periodicals.
How do we create a 21st century architectural model to bring horses back into the city?
There is a long history of horses in the city. In 1890, the horse was as ubiquitous as the smartphone; they did our work and provided transportation. These large creatures and their spatial and physical needs helped define the urban infrastructure and typology of New York City.
Today, the role of horses has diminished and is largely recreational. A new generation of expanding equestrian activities, such as educational and therapeutic riding have limited space to operate. Our project provides a model for an equestrian arena and chance for human/animal interaction in a typical New York City block. The classical form in plan allows a dining promenade in an aisle, between street facing stores and inward facing seating for the arena.
The vaulted space would be a first in the city, hosting large equestrian and educational events. It would also house a museum of the history of animals in the city, student outreach programs and horse stables. Visitors watch the ring as a generation of young, city-dwelling riders are exposed to animals generally only found on a farm.
Who are we serving as designers when we fight the ocean? How long can we pull it off?
A responsible solution for flood prone, waterfront infill sites is not to build on them. Because of the short term profitability of developing sites like these, our project went from a real world proposition to a theoretical exploration.
Continuing an ongoing plan to unite the Brooklyn waterfront with shared recreational uses, this project was conceived as an event space, addressing ecology and time, referencing impermanence. Modern fairgrounds are crisscrossed by discrete systems of animal and human circulation, allowing for sports competitions and cultural celebrations.
Accepting the reality that a single plot of land is not capable of preventing flooding, the site will be allowed to flood. We studied and produced ideas that talk about how human and sporting activity relates to sea level in an urban setting. As the sea level rises, what events can take place on the site and what are the meaningful sectional relationships between the various activities and actors?
Dameron Architecture paired with advertising behemoth Phear Creative and film designer Jeffrey Everett to create a brand showcase for Jameson Irish Whiskey and Pernod Ricard's growing portfolio of Irish Whiskey products.
Bow Street Irish Whiskey Pub, a place for football fans to grab a drink and hangout, is located in Metlife Stadium, one of the largest football stadiums in America, home to the NFL’s Giants and Jets.
The barback is 70 feet long by 14 feet tall and is covered in hand-crafted millwork evocative of NYC dive bars. Whiskey barrels imported from Ireland are stacked 16 feet tall along one wall. The ceiling is 50 feet tall. A shot of whiskey is 1.5 fluid ounces.
We created a garden with a strong formal layout. In the summer, it is a multisensory experience. In the cold Wisconsin winters, it is a visual composition viewed from inside.
As a formal garden, this lakeside landscape is an abstract geometric composition with bold colors. It echoes the angles of the adjacent modern house and emulates the islands of the spring fed lake. The landscape restores a former grass lawn to a habitat for native wildlife and creates a place to observe birds, butterflies and bees. It is designed to be viewed from the living space above and experienced from ground level.
Locally quarried limestone is used 5 different ways - as boulders, slabs, pavers, gravel and riprap. Low maintenance native plant species form fields of color and sit against the natural stone and brick pavers. A series of outdoor spaces allow for multiple ways to have direct experiences of the water. The flowering is seasonally staggered for maximum year-round visual impact.
We designed a few small cabins on a heavily wooded site. Without removing a single existing tree.
Our client discovered his family owned a property in a radial city that was never built. We decided to build structures there. No roads exist to the uncleared site. To visit, you must walk in.
A path leads through the forest to a space glowing and obscured - a good place to hang out and be with nature, even in the middle of the night, when the moon lights the elevated wooden platforms.
On a dramatically sloped site, we are creating Equestrian buildings and functional landscapes that encourage positive relationships between humans, plants, and animals.
EQUS is a nonprofit organization focused on encouraging personal growth and education for at-risk youth through involvement with horses and the sport of polo.
In phase three of an ongoing project with EQUS, we designed donor gardens and a new equestrian center event space, flexible classrooms and horse stalls.
The arrangement of buildings in the landscape showcases the stages of growth of the local pine forests and creates unexpected interactions with horses.
This Morgan Avenue site will be a private event space and botanical garden that features 10,000 square feet of interior and exterior space equipped with flexible accommodations for hosting special events.
The construction is a result of years of study and development with a team of architects, engineers, gardeners and informed environmental specialists.
The space will evolve and grow with the community in an area that is rapidly transforming from a manufacturing hub into a commercial arts district.
The project is a complete reimagining of the block on Thames St, from Morgan Ave to Vandervoort, providing an improved sidewalk, new street trees and bicycle racks. The landscape will feature native planting and encourage urban wildlife, retaining and reusing site water and repurposing construction materials from the existing buildings.
Questions, suggestions and interactions are welcome. As the project progresses please check back for updates and calls for collaboration.
When lots sit vacant for too long, they start to grow weeds. When a lot is developed, the zoning envelope defines a building that maximizes real estate value. Situated in area between property value maximization and abandonment, the will and ambition of a client creates a constructed urban garden.
Williamsburg Garden is an ascending planted landscape, enclosing a formal courtyard in Brooklyn.
This garden is all about the spatial and sensory experience, locating functional spaces to heighten interaction with plant life. The compact lot size causes us to focus inward, creating a retreat from the city and expanding on the tradition of New York City’s pocket parks.
How can we turn tragedy into an opportunity for understanding?
This study for the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin consists of the development of a site adjacent to the existing Gurudwara to incorporate a Sikh cultural awareness center and a memorial to victims of a 2012 mass shooting.
Following the tragedy, there was a resounding cry to promote awareness of the Sikh religion in America and a desire to express solidarity among the surrounding community. The building, landscape and garden is a reflection on memory and a celebration of the theme of unity- a chance to present Punjabi and Sikh culture to a larger audience.
This master plan and landscape design were crafted for EQUS, a non-profit organization focused on encouraging personal growth and education for at-risk youth through involvement with horses and the sport of polo.
The master plan and design project encompasses a 50-acre park, equestrian center, community learning facility, and polo grounds, with a five building campus.
Construction began in 2010, and the complex continues to grow.
Drawing on the geologic, as well as the constructed history of the Miami waterfront, the project proposes a new series of public spaces- from streetscapes to public plazas and finally grand vistas that connect and orient the visitor to the city. The development is experienced on three levels, each with its own material character and use. The forms of the buildings recall the thrust of the coastal ridge and the sedimentary and tectonic forces that formed Miami limestone. The lower levels of this complex will eventually become part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Design is a process and a service. We work with existing organizations to design master plans, considering both their short term needs and long term goals.
Work to Ride is a non-profit prevention program that aids disadvantaged urban youth through constructive activities centered on horsemanship, equine sports, and education. Their facilities are housed in the woodlands of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.
Dameron Architecture, in collaboration with Toner Architects, conducted a feasibility study and created a master plan, exploring the potential growth of the Work To Ride program’s operations and facilities.
The plan and landscape design solve site water management and utilization issues through grading and planting improvements. The proposed addition of three new buildings expands the organization’s educational and equestrian activities.
We've been involved in different phases of Governors Island's reinvention for the last decade.
Dameron Architecture has an ongoing interest and involvement with the development of Governors Island, a former military base, as it assumes it’s new life as an increasingly popular recreational and educational destination for New Yorkers. It is our belief that renewed awareness, stewardship and use of the Harbor is key to the development of New York City’s environmental health and culture.
Chris Dameron participated in early stages of the creation of the park on the south end, as he worked on a team of architects, engineers and landscape architects to design what it means to be a new large park in New York City. Playfulness and joy were emphasized in constructing natural space in a complex, sometimes toxic environment. The collaboration, which includes Rogers Marvel Architects and West 8 Landscape Architects, won an international competition with a series of images and ideas that cast the park as a centerpiece of the harbor. It was later designed and executed by a team of international landscape architects.
In 2007, Chris taught a semester-long design studio dealing with the island as a building site. Dameron Architecture continues to explore the possible futures of this unique place.
If you can correctly identify a problem, it's already a historical condition.
Going beyond solutions, we have to envision the potential beauty of our design implications, how spaces will evolve and react to the environment over time.
Speculative design should be an instigator, raising questions and creating a mirror-world to aid our thinking, an alternate reality that continues to influence our own.
Read more on our blog.
We respect history.
Working in New York City, we encounter a variety of historical conditions on both the inside and outside of buildings. We work to preserve the city’s character and reinterpret its history. We provide services to coordinate with city agencies to enliven old buildings and improve the streetscape.
Christopher Dameron worked on a variety of projects, ranging from parks to universities and religious institutions, over the course of 15 years before starting his own firm.
Can a space be both functional and transcendent? Yes.
At Westchester Reform Temple, under the employment of Rogers Marvel Architects, we created a master plan and new building in Scarsdale, New York. 26,000sf of renovated space. A religious space is complemented by the technologically sophisticated 1,000 seat sanctuary and social hall.
A central cast glass wall reflects the seasonally planted garden. The architecture expresses Jewish numerology and beliefs, embedding the form with cultural meaning and creating a new spiritual center for the community.
How can we reclaim a historic community center? Do it for the kids!
McCarren Park Pool was built in 1936 with a combined footprint of 4 Olympic sized swimming pools. Years later it was shutdown due to neighborhood unrest and consequently went into disrepair. The Parks Department hired Rogers Marvel Architects to revitalize the pools. We designed a new community center and outdoor changing pavilions that provide much needed recreational space in an underserved area of Brooklyn.
McCarren Pool has the capacity to house 1500 swimmers. The success of its modernization was achieved through advanced preservation and design techniques. McCarren Pool is now used as the model for revitalization of all public pools in New York City.
The reworking of a midcentury apartment centers around a cherry millwork core.
We combined two apartments to create an airy single, floor-through apartment for a couple in Midtown Manhattan.
We made simple moves with the millwork, creating warm expanses of color and making subtle changes in composition and thickness. The natural quarter-sawn centerpiece simultaneously divides spaces, unfolds into a bench, and holds a bookshelf, desk, and sliding doors. The apartment straddles between time periods. An architect in 1951 may have proposed a similar design.
What should go, what should remain? We respect landmark properties and give new meaning and life to them. To renovate a historic building is to curate architectural elements in space and time.
We renovated a townhouse in Park Slope that was originally built in 1920 on a road that pre-existed the neighborhood.
The building contains a fluid, plaster interior with historic elements floating in fields of white, drawing a sensibility of bold and unsettling spaces, inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s cinematography and the space-age sensibilities of its owners. On the outside, it’s 1920 pretending to be 1850.
On the inside, it’s 1965. It’s 1983. It’s 2012. It is a forum for the changing qualities of sunlight on curved walls, occupied by a happy family.
Read more on Renovating NYC.
What is that stair doing? Often In New York City, stairs are the most expressive features of apartments. They represent the values of their owners and the character of our vertical city.
A sculptural staircase is the central feature of a Brooklyn Heights triplex apartment renovation.
It’s made of steel, wood and plaster, an assembly of curves that cloak a structural skeleton. It’s constructed with centuries-old artisanal building methods and based on models created with 21st century technology. The smoothed plaster forms mirror the flow of movement through the space, evoking bodily curves, flower pedals. Upstairs, a desk and bookshelf unwind and corkscrew down, landing in the main living space where they become trunk-like, housing a blackened steel firewood-box.