clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Karl Fischer Speaks: He Digs The Ikon, LIC's Powerhouse

New, 24 comments

We don't know how we missed the Real Deal Q&A with Karl Fischer, the architect who's putting up dozens of buildings in the city, most notably in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, but there is no way we can let it pass. In it, the architect talks about the Ikon (50 Bayard), Sevenberry, the Powerhouse in Long Island City and other projects. (He does not mention Warehouse 11, although the intro says that it is "on the site of Williamsburg's former Roebling Oil Field.") Karl Fischer Architect opened in Montreal in 1984. The New York office open in 1999 and Mr. Fischer said he started working in Brooklyn because "there's a very strong Jewish connection between Montreal and New York." Of his buildings generally, he says: "Generally I don't like to do boxes. I like the buildings to have a little bit more flair -- maybe some curved lines, maybe angled lines. I like to make sure every building is a little bit different."

1) On the Powerhouse: "One of my favorite ones right now is the conversion of the old [Pennsylvania Railroad] Power House [at 50th Avenue and Second Street] in Long Island City. We are converting that into residential and adding four stories of rooftop additions."

2) On Karl Fischer Row & The Ikon: "They made it much more residential; 50 Bayard is one of my favorite buildings. It's a mixture of an existing four-story manufacturing building that's being converted to residential, with a five-story metal and glass addition where each floor is one unit."

3) On Roebling Square: "We have a small project on Roebling Street -- Roebling Square @ North 8th Street. It's just a bunch of townhouses. Although it's a bigger block, it's broken down into little townhouses. I would say that fits in very well."

4) On Sevenberry: "We're doing one on North 7th and Berry streets [in Williamsburg], it's probably like 150 feet long, but I broke it down to 25-foot modules to try and get the feeling of 25-foot houses."

5) On Brooklyn's uniqueness: "Brooklyn is just a different city. Manhattan has its restrictions; you have to deal with the subways and the tight space. Brooklyn is a little more generous in terms of space and there are more low-rise buildings. In parts like Williamsburg, the challenge is to break down the scale of these buildings. Because they used to be manufacturing blocks -- it's not like in other parts of Manhattan where you get 50-foot lots -- here you can get lots that are 200 and 300 feet long. You don't want it to look like a great, big box."
· As Brooklyn Grows, So Does Architect Karl Fischer [Real Deal]