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Carter's View

The skyline of Brooklyn is changing but the recent financial crisis has somewhat slowed its momentum leading Forest City Ratner to indicate it would not proceed immediately with some of its grand plans.

The good news, however, is that marketing has just begun on one spectacular new tower known as Toren, the Dutch word for "tower."

The 38-story building at 150 Myrtle Avenue at the corner of Flatbush Avenue Extension in downtown Brooklyn has been designed by Roger Duffy, Peter Fajak and Jeff Burke of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and has a very distinctive design. The low-rise base conjures the middle of an accordion and the set-back tower is boldly patterned with an asymmetrical fenestration pattern and a very pronounced vertical treatment that resembles the randomness of old computer "punch cards."

Although the base of the building is pretty much symmetrical in comparison with the tower, it is very forceful, vigorous and energetic with several of its piers extending up to make transitions with the tower. While it is not as wild and curved as Frank O. Gehry's famous Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, its silver-blue aluminum and glass facade is stunning visually in the renderings. Mr. Gehry is the architect for Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.

The 240-unit Toren development, which hopes to attain a LEED silver certification, will have duplex penthouses, a fitness center and a skylit swimming pool and the third floor, roof decks on the fifth and sixth floors connected by a grand staircase, an attended garage, and a 24-hour concierge. It will also have a large, multi-story library and its own co-generation plant.

The project is being developed by BFC Partners of which Donald Capoccia, Joseph Ferrara and Brandon Baron are principals. JBDO, a subsidiary of BFC Partners, is furnishing all of the project's cabinets as well as the kitchens for the first homes of Brad Pitt's Global Green Project in New Orleans.

Apartments will range in size from 442 to 1,967 square feet and will have Liebherr refrigerators, Electrolux ovens and cooktops, Eurotech washers and dryers, and Zuma bathtubs.

The area was rezoned in 2004 to permit buildings as high as 400 feet and numerous other projects are advancing nearby.

Mr. Fajak of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has stated that the facade design "is directly born from Toren's address," adding that "Myrtle Avenue made us think of the myrtle tree. That's where the bumps, the embossed circles come from." The curtain has 200 different types of panels and no floor is identical on the facade.

BFC Partners' other projects in the city include Schaefer Landing in Brooklyn and Madison Park and 1955 First Avenue, both in Manhattan.
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Additional Info About the Building

Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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