25 Kent is designed as a social campus that brings innovators, founders, and tech leaders together in one collaborative workplace. Taking cues from the neighborhood’s industrial character, the design stacks a series of brick forms that nod to the materials and proportions of the nearby warehouses. The floors are staggered, creating a ziggurat-shaped building that juts in and out, and rises towards the sky to create one collaborative workplace. The short ends of the facade are capped in soaring floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the interiors with sunlight and offer commanding views of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn.
25 Kent spans approximately 46,500 square meters, rises eight stories high, and covers an entire city block. Due to its size, the development underwent a two year rezoning process to obtain approval. As Brooklyn’s first speculative commercial property in 40 years and Williamsburg’s only all-new office building, 25 Kent had to be an inviting hub for a rapidly-changing community. Envisioned to support both tenants and the surrounding neighborhood, 25 Kent creates a bustling public core through a retail-lined pedestrian street that goes straight through the building’s center. Bookended by landscaped plazas, the walkway will connect the upcoming Bushwick Inlet Park with the nearby plaza of the William Vale hotel. What was once a forbidding industrial waterfront is now transformed into a walkable district of parks and public spaces. Ground floor retail, cafes, and restaurants activate the surrounding areas and provide social spaces where people can come together informally.
Inside, the highly flexible floor plates are designed to support a wide variety of tenants, from young startups to established companies. Several types of workspaces are available to be tailored to each tenant’s particular needs. Open plan office floors offer shared co-working spaces. Fully-equipped makerspaces support prototyping and fabrication, inviting local industry into the building and further diversifying the tenant mix. Glass-enclosed conference rooms and collaborative lounges throughout the building offer more privacy, and places for tenants to work together in a focused way. Rather than thinking of office spaces purely in terms of square meters, this project also maximizes floor-to-ceiling heights. Tenants have access to 4.5 - 6.7 meter ceiling heights, in comparison to the traditional office building’s ceiling height of 4.2 meters.
The innovative H-shaped plan offers several key advantages over a generic donut office building. Instead of a typical 13-meter span between the core and the walls, the building achieves 21-meter spans with three-sided window exposure. Distributing mechanical and circulation cores throughout the building creates highly flexible floor plates that can be used by single tenants, two tenants, or adapted for a large quantity of multi-tenant configurations. Both wings of the H-shaped building feature their own circulation and mechanical cores, allowing them to be flexibly subdivided. Bridging the two wings is a shared central space that generates chance encounters between tenants and offers a place to socialize and collaborate informally.
Because the site’s proximity to the waterfront created a structural challenge, as well as an amenity, 25 Kent’s foundation was designed as a continuous mat slab with thickened portions below the tower shear wall cores. To counteract hydrostatic uplift from groundwater, drilled tiedown anchors are located outside the tower footprints. Respecting the architectural intent behind the vast, column-free spaces in the central region of the floor plate, each of the six columns supporting the bridge slab has a 20-foot long rectangular drop panel. This achieves the desired long span with a conventionally reinforced 12-inch slab.
25 Kent is a thoughtful, contextually-sensitive new structure that will enrich, rather than outshine, the surrounding community.
Hollwich Kushner is a leading architecture firm based in Lower Manhattan and winners of the prestigious MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program, where we built Wendy. We have gone on to design projects at every scale: intimate to awe-inspiring, and everything in between. Hollwich Kushner creates forward-looking buildings that place people first. Recently the firm has designed projects of varying typologies for clients including Vornado, WeWork, Uniqlo, and the University of Pennsylvania. Hollwich Kushner is a new kind of architecture firm that believes in entrepreneurship - we founded Architizer.com and were named in Fast Company's 2017 annual ranking of the world's most innovative companies.