Loadingdock5: Building Brooklyn’s Future

The architects who started the firm Loadingdock5 came together in a way that is familiar to New Yorkers everywhere—location, location, location. Sam Bargetz tells us, “We began as a loose group of architects working together in the loading dock of 184 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, a warehouse designed by Cass Gilbert. Some of us had converted part of the 5th floor into residential lofts, and loading dock #5 was included in our lease. We were looking for a name that did not necessarily include any of our own names and which would allow us to grow as a team. ‘Loadingdock5’ referenced both a place and a specific point in time, which we liked.”

Both Bargetz and his partner, Werner Morath, came to New York in 1998, after finishing graduate school in Vienna. Back then, they tell us, “Williamsburg was quite affordable” and they decided to settle in Brooklyn. Over the years Loadingdock5 has become known for its European sensibility: meaning they practice sustainability and believe that “efficiency can be a part of an aesthetic proposition.” And while parts of Brooklyn seem to—seemingly overnight—sprout the kind of buildings that clash with their environment, Loadingdock5 designs with an ethos that everyone with any design sensibility can support.

Bargetz says, “What is the local context upon which we can build? Architects have to assume the responsibility to design and build environments that make sense in terms of their energy consumption and how that is expressed, and as a consequence understood culturally. By this we mean that we need to consider scale, material and social aspects on a local level, including energy, and propose a design that addresses all these criteria.” These are definitely the kind of buildings you’d want to be your neighbor.

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