A unique design challenge

About Pozzotive® Royal XL Brick

How it looks

Lexington Gardens II is a new mixed-use residential development slated for East Harlem that’s been in the works for years. It’s expected to take up almost an entire city block, bound by 108th Street, 107th Street, Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue.

Renderings of the building depict a massive building that provides visual interest through a facade that rises and falls based on streetscape and urban planning considerations. Sean Flynn, of Curtis & Ginsberg Architects, LLP, said the design took inspiration from images of rock and cliff faces.

“In our role as design architects, we evaluated the site, context, meaning and purpose of the building,” says Flynn. “We came up with a design concept that this building should be analogous to a rock outcropping. We tried to emphasize that mineral quality of a piece of nature coming out of the ground.”

The buildings will rise between eight and fifteen stories tall, with portions of some of the base levels covered in full floor-to-ceiling windows.

“We looked at metaphors of such a massive building. It’s kind of a piece of leftover stone, the kind of thing you might see in Central Park.”

When evaluating brick that would evoke the look and feel of rock outcroppings, they quickly gravitated toward samples of Kingston Block’s Royal XL brick.

One concern with the initial design was a feeling of somberness, which is being addressed by breaking up the mass of the building with different color blends.

“Kingston Block helped us with by providing massive amounts of samples with different blends, so we could play around with real colors by re-arranging everything,” says Flynn. “We’ve been through a number of rounds of changes in the brick color. We’ll be getting pre-blended palettes of Kingston’s brick.”

The building is slated to be highly sustainable, and is expected to meet enterprise green community certification on numerous points. Kingston Block’s Royal XL brick is made with a process that creates up to 30% less carbon emissions than traditional block manufacturing, by using a proprietary cement aggregate called Pozzotive that is made from post-consumer glass recovered from area landfills.

Flynn said that the look of the facade will carry on to the interior of the building.

“We’re going to be laying up the brick as tile in the building’s major public areas,” he says. “The brick skin of the buildings will actually wrap into the lobbies. We’ll be using the same blend of brick on the inside.”

Sean Fitch, Vice President of Kingston Block & Masonry, said that the company exceeds other concrete product manufacturers when it comes to meeting the custom needs of designing architects.

“We are pleased to have used state of the art equipment to produce the three textures of brick in the specified colors,” he said. “Our experienced staff blended the colors at the plant, and we couldn’t be happier to be providing Pozzotive Concrete Brick for this marquee New York City project.”

We tried to emphasize the mineral quality of a piece of nature coming out of the ground.