Empire Stores

Empire Stores

Brooklyn, New York
United States
Empire Stores

TYLin provided structural engineering services for the adaptive reuse of the waterfront Empire Stores buildings in Brooklyn, NY.

The landmarked Empire Stores buildings are a complex of seven interconnected late-1800s warehouses on the DUMBO waterfront. The buildings were first used in the shipping industry, then later as coffee warehouses. Their original structure consists of unreinforced brick masonry perimeter walls, schist load-bearing demising walls between each building, and a rectilinear grid of heavy timber girders and columns supporting wood joists.

The winning design for the complex’s redevelopment consisted of the restoration of the existing structure and a two-story steel and glass rooftop addition. TYLin orchestrated a renovation that preserved the historically significant components of the building. This included repairing and re-supporting the stone and brick masonry load-bearing walls and the heavy timber columns atop a series of new mat slab foundations. The renovation also created over 100 large openings through the schist bearing walls to make the development functional for office and retail occupancy. Reframing the existing roof in steel was required to support the heavy occupancy load, pavers, and planters associated with a new rooftop park.

Project Highlights: 

  • The column-free spaces in the steel-framed addition allow occupants to enjoy waterfront views.
  • Historical cast iron elements such as the iconic facade shutters were restored and repainted where feasible.
  • The renovation also included cutting a large slice through two of the complex’s buildings for a public courtyard, displaying several full-height schist walls.
Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, 2020
New York Landmarks Conservancy
Design Awards, Architecture, Merit, 2019
AIA New York
Global Awards for Excellence, 2019
Urban Land Institute
Engineering Excellence Awards, Platinum Award – Category C: Structural Systems, 2018
ACEC New York
MASterworks Awards, Best Adaptive Reuse, 2018
Municipal Art Society of New York
Winner, Shining Moment, 2018

Related Projects