Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh Look...Mezzanines! Open House At Scarano's "Satori"


340 Bond Street


What the sales brochure may have left out!


Open house at the Satori at 340 Bond Street? I couldn't resist. I needed to check it out. Designed by notorious 'Bad Boy' architect Robert Scarano, the building is described on its web site as follows:
The Satori located in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn, marks an awakening of the senses. A new building, fueled by nature and the simplicity it provides to create unique residences originated to enhance, not interfere with, life. It introduces a new living experience, utilizing the art of Japanese design, layering a multitude of textures and an original conceptional facade.

The apartments have been languishing on the market for quite a while. Even after some steep price cuts, only six out of the 34 units are in contract. They are currently priced from $385K to $795K.
Of course, the current economy has slowed sales everywhere, but the Satori has a few strikes against it, most notably its location as well as its use of mezzanine floors. A Scarano trademark, those mezzanines are labeled as storage areas in his blueprints, t
heir square footage not added into the building’s total floor-to-area ratio. However, they turn the apartments into 'faux' duplexes.
When I questioned the Satori salesperson on site at the open house, he said:

"Those storage spaces can be converted into living spaces after the closing."
I guess, Scarano is still at it. But let me give you a tour:




The living rooms have great high ceilings, but..

the stairs connecting floors in the duplexes are dangerously steep. I actually slipped and barely was able to catch myself.

"Faux Duplexes"
What seems like an additional floor....


above the kitchens of some of the units....


is actually one of Scarano's signature mezzanines.

More mezzanines...

this one masquerading as a storage area...

complete with electric and telephone hook-up.

The placement of this sink in one of the bathrooms is awkward, to say the least. One has to press against the wall in order to center one's hands under the faucet.


Nothing beats the view of the 'lovely' Gowanus canal area from one of the windows facing Bond Street...
...except maybe the view of that 'other' Scarano building,
the one with the illegal two story addition at 333 Carroll Street, visible from the back of the Satori.



For Home Page, click Pardon Me For Asking

22 comments:

knithound brooklyn said...

How in the world does this guy get his building permits approved?!

Katia said...

One has to wonder...
Someone likes him very, very much at the D.o.B.!

Anonymous said...

Did you ask if they will throw in free sawzall?
Cynthia

gary said...

Nicely done Katia! Your post, that is, not these execrably executed design disasters.

Worst. Architect. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Typical Scarano Bullshit...
Perhaps those "lofts" are for the kids, as they try to navigate the oh so steep stairs.
It is to wonder if he ever sets foot in his own designs.

John said...

did the broker mention anything about taking out the false floor of the mezzanine?? haha

Anonymous said...

Scarano seems to be the fall guy...but you need to remember he is not the owner, builder or marketing agent.
His job was to design by developers wishes and it seems their were pelnty of developers willing to have this.. and they(with their RE agents) are doing this.
Don't let the others off so easily and let all the blame go to architect.

Anonymous said...

p.s. And this really is just institutionalizing what many individual apt owners and perhaps renters have done for years in old loft type buildings/former factories, etc with high ceilings... built loft rooms that don't count as extra sq. footage.

Anonymous said...

Such a shame, especially the staircases. Some of the design of the building was very nice (unique windows, a mixture of textures) - much better than many of the drap buildings getting built these days. But the staircases are more akin to a ladder. A major screw up. The loft spaces in some were easily convertible into very nice living spaces, making the units a bargain. In others - well, the pictures tell the story.

Anonymous said...

i saw a similar stroke of scarano genius that featured the washer dryer up those treacherous stairs. Imagine lugging a laundry basket up and down! hello?
someone shoot him.

Anonymous said...

Personally I enjoyed the building and apartments. There are definitely quarky things about the storage space, but from the appearance they'll be easily converted into bedrooms or living spaces...

Anonymous said...

My wife and I were told that it was some issue with the zoning that those areas had to be raised like that so that they couldn't be considered bedrooms. The building and location aren't bad, but those mezzanines are ridiculous and ruin the apartments.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me for noticing...you're about 3 years late on the Scarano bashing. How many commentators do you think are actually real buyers? A scarce few I'd bet. There's no news here folks, if you want a conventional apartment you don't buy in a modern building like this.
2:42, you're dead wrong, architects, especially Scarano, do NOT "design by developers wishes". This is pretty obvious with Scarano since the majority of his designs contain the obvious and infamous mezzanines. And how on earth do you blame the re agent? "and they(with their RE agents) are doing this." Ridiculous statement, are doing what? This group of re agents is just lame, lie, and don't even know what they're "attempting" to sell. Why they'd hire these bozos as reps is beyond me. Because they have "developer" in their name?
2:45 you nailed it. Scarano is no dummy, everybody's pissed because he found a (loop)hole in the building code and drove a truck through it.
When he began delivering substantial amounts of extra sellable square feet a large number of "developers" flocked to him, other architects lost business and eventually began to cry foul, and he has yet to be convicted of doing anything wrong. The greedy developers did not take into account whether or not the majority of people would like it or if people could understand how to live in it, didn't matter when the market was hot. Scarano's arrogance is his biggest crime, not the mezzanines. The mezzanines pissed everyone off in the architectural community and Jimmy Hoffa style they rallied the troops to dig around and find where he had neglected to cross some t's and dot some i's and have launched a full fledged vendetta as a result; can't convict on the murder charge so we'll put him away for tax evasion. There is a lot left to interpretation in this biz and a lot of politics here.
So I have a question for the experts here; why the attitude as if you've been wronged some how?
Why so angry? If you don't like it, don't buy it. If you don't like it, it doesn't mean you have been assaulted, some crime has been committed, or something is illegal.
Want a tip smart guys?! Wait 60 days and you'll get a killer deal on a cool space. I'll rip out the ladders and the mezzanine boxes after I close and own a killer space with a really cool new proper stair I'll have designed myself. You haters can blog on me all you want this fall. ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Scarano,
Why do you keep on leaving anonymous comments on blogs.
Everyone knows its you!

Anonymous said...

If one were to buy at this place, and happen to remove the mezzanine boxes, is there any possible recourse from any regulator against the condo owner who modified the design? It may be a silly question, but this is the heart of the matter for this place. Without the boxes, the sqaure footage of some of the larger units is interesting (especially if you can negociate 15-20% of the list prices). Installing a spiral staircase may deminish the chance of spinal chord injury.

Anonymous said...

I think the worst that could happen is that you'd have to restore it; and I don't see how, as a practical matter, that would come up until you are re-selling? Given how cheap it is to remove the platform (quote of $1200 all-in on the model apartment's mezzanine) and floor it, re-installing one later doesn't seem like a big deal when you want to sell...only to have the next buyer do it again, probably.

Anonymous said...

...So PMFA, when squatters squat, or artists and other illegally convert lofts we call it 'edgy' or avant garde, but if a developer enlists an architect to find a way to profitably offer more bang for the buck to potential buyers he is to be condemned?

Who exactly is injured by removing the platform, putting in a floor, and using the mezzanine as ordinary office or sleeping space? What is the purpose of the city's FAR requirements? What harm are they trying to prevent? This is a city of 8M people - is the FAR requirement going to put a dent into the population density of a given area? How?? Are they afraid people will throw up sheetrock walls or curtains on those mezzanines so they can rent it out to 6 or 7 illegal immigrants to live there in dangerous squalor in one of these luxury condos? Come on...So many people with strange agendas on these blogs.

As for the stairs, you're right of course, they are steep. If that is the price I have to pay to have a fully usable second level, with everything else the units/building/neighborhood has to offer, at the price they are asking, guess what - I'll take it in a heartbeat! I'll invite you over afterwards and you can take a second look ;-)

Katia said...

Considering that the last two comments were left minutes apart on the same day, weeks after the original post and are so full of complements for a rather ugly building steps from a polluted canal, I can only conclude that A) they were left by Mr. Scarano himself
or b) by the realtor in charge of unloading the apartments that have been languishing on the market forever.

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something? I've been looking at buying apartments and aside from the not-quite-historic-district block, the units seem like an exciting space for a competitive price. What gives?

Anonymous said...

5:37 Did you buy? I am wondering how many of these units actually sold. I have a view of this building - and needless to say, it is very ugly to look at. Institutional-looking. They tore down a charming carriage house to build this. And the way it is wrapped around the building at the corner is really drab. A friend of mine took a tour and had to sign a waiver in case he injured himself - down those horrible stairs, I bet. Wonder if you have to sign a waiver if you buy!

NJBAarchitecture said...

This building is so totally inappropriate for the area in all it's expressive forms... wow, why here? A completely different approach would of resulted in better and more appropriate prices for the units and would of resulted in an occupied building. The Architect, and I choose to forget his name, so totally wasted the developers money with a building design that doesn't make sense on both the outside or inside. The mezzanines are a total joke, don't get me started, but the exterior forms imply a public entrance on Bond yet in reality the building entrance is on Carroll, a side street. This Architect is an amateur and it baffles me how people actually hire him in the first place. The only thing that is somewhat redeeming is the fenestration though it too is detailed horribly and faux wood texture is tacky.
On his website he takes pride in hiring inexperience interns and sees himself as an "admired mentor". IMHO the inexperience shows. Hope the developers can see the light before another financial disaster gets built.

NJBAarchitecture said...

to quote 'Anonymous' April 20, 2009 6:38 PM: "What is the purpose of the city's FAR requirements?"
It is to ensure that only a certain amount of Square Footage can be built on a given lot of a certain size. This is designed to protect inhabitants so they will receive adequate sunlight and fresh air, and, to also ensure that all properties adjoining or within shadow distance also have their light and air rights protected. It's a health issue fundamentally. Variations in the FAR ratio influence the resulting character neighborhoods develop which is more an Urban Design issue. Any Architect who ignores or twists it is, and please forgive me for saying it, lifting their middle finger to everyone around them. You see, the stupid thing is any Architect can build mezzanines legally and actually make them useful. But this Architect is twisting the zoning regulations to allow him to offer the developer more units. I suspect he got a couple extra units out of not counting the SF of the mezz... and still they don't sell. lol.
(sry for the double post)