The once gracious boulevard of mansions and churches known as Bushwick Avenue is no stranger to the incongruous, but we did a double take when we saw Isaac & Stern’s plan to convert a small brick church there into a residential apartment building. The avenue, which has become a heavily trafficked route to the Jackie Robinson expressway, is a jumbled mix of the commercial and residential, large and small, including a giant electrical substation. Many of the mansions and row houses have been disfigured by inappropriate renovations and a few are in extreme states of decay, like a house at the corner of Halsey and Bushwick whose side is covered in a plywood quilt, some of it peeling away. The design, above, makes no secret of its marriage of old and new, which can sometimes work well, but the outsize addition is somewhat reminiscent of the Carroll Gardens “hunchback” building, aka the Carroll Gardens Atrocity.
Just think, somewhere out there is an architect who is proud of this.