Crye Precision is a combat-wear and equipment manufacturing company headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. The new Crye Precision Headquarters is set up in a previously abandoned ship-building factory in what was formerly a Navy Yard, refurbished, and adapted to a modern facility housing both designing and manufacturing facilities for the company.
Name: Crye Precision Headquarters
Area: 87,000 SQ. FT.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Year of Completion: 2017
Design Architects: MN DPC
Landscape Architects: Verdant Design
Project Team: Morris-Flood Associates, LLC; ADS Engineers; Simpson Gumpertz & Heger; Higgins Quasebarth & Partners; Construction Manager: Vorea
Designed by the firm MN Design Professional Corporation, an architectural firm based in New York, the project appears to be both robust and industrial as well as very down-to-earth and human at the same time. It has also been shortlisted for several awards and has won the coveted Interior Merits Award under the 2020 AIA New York Design Awards.
Located in a 300 acre Navy Yard and occupying an area of about 87,000 sq. ft., the facility is housed in a former shipbuilding factory, constructed in the year 1902, which has been termed as a ‘national landmark’. The design prioritized conserving and refurbishing the pre-existing, historically significant, large-span steel structure and made sure that any new additions would not take away from it, but rather complement it.
The Crye Precision Headquarters brings all the different company departments under a unified, multifunctional, mixed-use building program. Being 153 meters long and 26 meters tall, the structure houses functions such as design departments, manufacturing units, testing, administration, storage facilities, as well as gathering spaces including conference and meeting spaces, in a newly designed interior layout. Due to the need for these various functions, multiple additions were made in the form of smaller structures built inside the pre-existing steel construction. The building has a relatively simple and intuitive layout. It functions in a very systematic way, ensuring an efficient work-flow, as well as the in-and-out flow of various goods and materials.
The entrance for the Crye Precision Headquarters, flanked with greens, consists of what is known as the “primordial forest”, a central large-height space full of trees and plants- replicating the appearance of what one would call a ‘pre-historic’ forest. The landscape, designed by Verdant Design, blurs the boundary between the inside and the outside and also helps accentuate the scale of the building. By juxtaposing the most uncurated natural forms against the very industrial, man-made steel structures, a sense of drama is created that heightens the visual quality of the space. The green zone is placed centrally and acts as the primary gathering space. It is visually connected to spaces all around the building, providing a glimpse of nature in a highly orchestrated, functional environment. The guest conference area that hangs over the lush landscape as well as the common canteen space on the ground floor, receive the prime views of this ‘forest’.
Materiality and Structure
The central focus of the Crye Precision Headquarters is the large span steel structure from 1902. Over 115 years old, it was vital to keep in mind its heritage value. As a result, the new additions have aimed to respect the original structure, its “detailing, rhythm, and spirit” by keeping them similar, but also distinct at the same time. The steel and concrete used in the newer built spaces echo the older materials, detailed in a way that they not only withdraw the emphasis from themselves but also call attention to the authenticity of the materials used in the first place. Often with projects involving adaptive reuse, maintaining the distinction between the old and the new is a thin line, an intricate path to tread, which, with careful attention to detail, has been realized successfully in this case. This thoughtfulness in design maintains a discrete architectural clarity and has enabled the original structure to retain its architectural integrity.
In addition to ensuring an efficient work-flow, the new design for the Crye Precision Headquarters also maximizes natural lighting in the building, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting. With windows at multiple levels and open layouts, the ease of visibility is maintained. The uncomplicated layout also allows for an efficiently designed HVAC system that caters to the cooling requirements of different spaces and functions differently. The high bay spaces in the center consist of mostly storage facilities and other activities that require only very brief temporal human mediation. They were found to be thermally uncomfortable for both summers and winters, and so by placing passive functions in these spaces, the additional HVAC load is avoided. These spaces are, therefore, only partially conditioned. On the other hand, spaces enclosed in smaller volumes catering to design, manufacturing, production, testing, and gathering are fully air-conditioned. This separation of functions leads to additional cost-savings and a reduction in power consumption.