Metal Architecture Home


PowerHouse Condominiums, Long Island City, N.Y.

This luxury condominium community has been a local landmark for the past 100 years. Welcoming its first residents in August 2008, the PowerHouse Condominiums gave new life to the old Penn Station powerhouse, which provided electricity for the trains stopping in New York’s Penn Station and to the old Schwartz Chemical factory building.

Developers Zigmond Brach and CGS Developers re-evaluated their original plans to level the historic structure, which was originally designed by McKim, Mead and White, due to the tremendous community support for repurposing the existing building.

The development is planned in three phases. The first, which cost in excess of$100 million, included 177 units, ranging in size from 500-square-foot (47-m2) studios to 1,500-square-foot (139-m2) three-bedroom units, in the original section of the building.

Located one block from the waterfront,the 11-story, 288,000-square-foot (26,755-m2) condominium building will house 447 units, a fitness center, roof deck with private cabanas, spa and Aqua Grotto, a water-oriented social space when completed in 2013.

Architectural firm Karl Fisher was commissioned to transform the rough industrial spaces into contemporary residences wit dramatic views of the Manhattan skyline. The architect retained the original tall arched windows blending a rough industrial chic with a modern contemporary look. A four-story glass and steel structure was designed to replace the original hopper, and four glass and metal towers were constructed on the footprint of the original smokestacks, featuring apartments with unique double-height living rooms with spectacular panoramic views.

Aluminum composite panels were specified because the architects wanted a lightweight material that would give the building a modern lookand contrast while at the same time blending in with the existing masonry, which could not be matched. Alcoa Architectural Products’ Reynobond ACM in Copper Penny and Vancouver Copper was chosen to blend in with the brick color, to give it some glitter and to enhance the brick, which had dulled with time.

Riverside Group and Island International Industries Inc. fabricated and installed 37,000 square feet (3,437 m2) of 0.16-inch (4-mm) ReynobondACM FR core in Copper Penny, in addition to 2,500 square feet (232 m2) of 0.16-inch Reynobond ACM FR core in Vancouver Penny on the lower three floors of the north elevation courtyard. PPG Industries supplied the finish on the ACM panels, mechanical bulkheads and stair towers. The panels were installed in Riverside’s R4-300 system. Riverside fabricated the pans at their plant and shipped them to Island, where they manufactured the framing components and installed the pans on the completed frame, creating a fully assembled unitized panel with glazing, eliminating fieldwork and accelerating the installation of the façade.

Developers: Zigmond Brach and CGS Developers, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Architect: Karl Fisher, New York

Fabricator/installer: Riverside Group, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and Island
International Industries Inc., Calverton, N.Y.

Metal wall panels: Alcoa Architectural Products, Eastman, Ga.

Finish: PPG Industries, Pittsburgh