Courtyard apartments have a long history in the US, particularly in temperate climes, where shaded outdoor corridors and centralized playspaces can be year-round amenities. New York City, however, has only selectively embraced this approach, with private yards and public parks taking up the slack. A new 18-unit condominium, 450 Warren — one of four planned Brooklyn collaborations between architects SO-IL and developers Tankhouse — aims to change that relationship, while also twisting the idea of common outdoor space into something that gets used.
Rather than creating one large courtyard, with the open space protected from the street by an L-shaped plan, SO-IL chopped up the outdoor amenities, betting that smaller, more carefully shaped and planted terraces would be more popular than a large undifferentiated expanse of grass. The building’s plan reads as three towers connected by curvy concrete walkways.