IF YOU’RE A HISTORIC PRESERVA- TIONIST with blood pressure issues, don’t look at this one. It’s a radical rethinking of a classic Park Slope brownstone by Brooklyn-based MESH Architectures, and it entailed the loss of original plasterwork, mantels, and other late-Victorian detail.
At first, frankly, I was shocked by both the ‘befores’ — nearly intact, if not really that beautiful — and the ‘afters.’ The architects peeled the house down to its structure in many places, leaving brick walls and wood ceiling beams exposed. They put a huge skylight in the roof, and replaced flooring on the 2nd and 3rd floors with translucent glass so that daylight can penetrate the entire house.
It’s loftlike now, bright and open — the antithesis of a narrow Brooklyn brownstone in its original state. It grew on me, as I worked on the piece and began to understand the language the architect, Eric Liftin, was speaking. But the debate rages on Brownstoner today. Go here to read all about it and join the discussion.