by Wendy Goodman for New York Magazine
November 6, 2012
Alexander Gorlin is perhaps best known as the architect behind high-end residential constructions. He was even tasked with designing World Trade Center master planner Daniel Libeskind’s own living space. But Gorlin firmly believes in the modernist dream of the architect as an agent of social change. Just days before Sandy hit, he took me on a tour of his latest project”East New York’s Nehemiah Spring Creek”a neighborhood of prefabricated townhouses for first-time home buyers. The process starts in this Brooklyn Navy Yard factory where the houses are constructed by Capsys.
“My goal was a modern interpretation of the traditional townhouse,” says Gorlin, who placed gas meters in concealed spots under stairs instead of in full view on the façades. It’s details like this that separate the Gorlin designs from previous Nehemiah prefabs.
Gorlin conceptualized seven different façades in ten different colors ensuring the neighborhood has texture and variety.
Armando Martinez, a current resident, was kind enough to let us look around his house. Martinez moved to Neremiah from his Cypress Hill rental about three years ago: “It was always my dream to have my own house,” explains the retired schoolteacher.
Martinez enjoys spending time with his family in his spacious garden, and his house is large enough to accommodate his many hobbies”making art, playing guitar, singing, and writing poetry. Here’s the man himself standing in front of one of his paintings.
Each house has a backyard with a car park, but residents are free to customize their space.
Gorlin wanted both the front stoops and the backyards to allow residents to entertain family and welcome friends. “These spaces have become a social center for each block, and people have embellished and personalized them,” he says.