Ground Architecture’s Eli Fernald—the developer, architect, and general contractor behind 96 King Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn—is telling me about a recent encounter with passersby outside his building: “We’re pretty close to the cruise ship terminals, and lots of tourists get off and walk around the neighborhood. One day, I see an older Russian couple, standing on the corner and arguing. They keep talking and looking up at the building. And, finally, the guy looks to me and asks, ‘Is this building new?’ ”
The apartment building is, indeed, entirely new construction—but Eli can understand the couple’s confusion. He designed the three-unit, brick-fronted structure to look at home in the historical waterfront neighborhood, which is known for its industrial warehouses and 19th century brick and clapboard homes. “I wanted to design the building in a way that feels right for the context and constraints.” he explains. “It felt disingenuous to do something hard modern here.”
Instead, he wanted both the inside and outside to be in “the same language and scale” as the neighborhood’s modest architecture, opting to leverage traditional methods and materials (think lime plaster, terra-cotta, salvaged pine wood) to translate the new build into a timeless work.
The raw finishes channel a “noble industrialism” that, in Unit #2 (currently listed for $2.95 million), is offset by modern-earthy interiors by real estate stagers and Remodelista favorites Hollister and Porter Hovey. “Eli designs with passion and a personal vision that you don’t usually see with new developments. It’s just so refreshing to find something that feels completely bespoke,” says Porter.
Below, Eli and the Hovey sisters give us a tour of Unit #2.
Photography by Hollister Hovey.
Here’s another project the Hoveys worked on, this one for architecture firm Fabr, of which Eli was a founding a member:
Fabr broke off into Eli’s Ground Architecture and TBo. Here’s a project that Studio Hovey collaborated on with TBo: