Blink once and you might think you’re in Manhattan’s Flatiron District—blink twice and you’ll realize it’s One Clinton, Marvel’s new building in Brooklyn Heights. Situated at the intersection of brownstones and business deals is a 38-story residential complex, sitting on top of a public library.
The ground-floor of One Clinton hosts the Cadman Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL). Looking out over Cadman Plaza Park, the renovation of the library keeps its limestone facade with a new modern finish. Its interior combines the programs of a library, a community center, and a STEM Lab and meeting rooms all in one. An upper mezzanine offers a cozy gaming area, and the lower level is set host local children’s events and crafting.
One Clinton’s most noticeable feature is its striking minimalist limestone facade and regimented mutli-story glazing at street level. The building’s exterior places an emphasis on pedestrian engagement, but the limestone material choice is a reference —and tribute to—the previous BPL’s facade, erected in 1962. Those limestone slabs were etched with bas-reliefs of art deco statues, not unlike those at the Main Branch library at Grand Army Plaza.
Due to the building’s siting in a historic district, the development of the project was originally met with dismay from local residents and governing boards due to the role played by the library. But now, upon completion, Lissa So, partner at Marvel, believes in the clarity the building can bring to the environment. “One Clinton offers a welcoming and timeless solution to downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights,” said So. “Collaborating with our client Hudson Companies, we are confident that it will serve as an active source of engagement for the community now and in years to come.”
One Clinton was first conceived back in 2018 and was finally able to open its doors in 2023. Many of these doors lead to the 134 residential units One Clinton has to offer. The project is filled with amenities that cater to the contemporary Brooklyn Heights resident: An amenity terrace is a real highlight of the building, boasting gas grills, sundecks, and 3,500 square feet of outdoor space for neighborly bonding. The building also accommodates residents with a 24-hour lobby and accessibility to a 2,000-square-foot fitness center. But the overall design was meant to invoke the myriad architectural aspects of the area—blending the rhythm found in the surrounding residential brownstones with the dynamics of the nearby downtown onto the unique triangular lot straddling quiet Clinton Street and busy Cadman Plaza West.
Libraries in New York City are a critical and cultural counterpart with historic and meaningful value. In 2023 Mayor Eric Adams proposed a budget cut that would slash the New York Public Library’s budget and would not be able to keep doors open on Sundays. Due to much public outcry, a reversal was made with the help of an increase in sign ups for library social programs. One Clinton is Marvel’s accidental solution to a mistreatment of one of our most important institutions.