Nehemiah Spring Creek Houses Brooklyn, NY


Alternating bay windows and a variety of colors create visual interest. Image courtesy of Frank Oudemann and Alexander Gorlin Architects

Front doors of new townhomes open directly to the street and driveways are located in back. “The sidewalk, not the driveway, becomes a place to meet and talk,” says architect Alexander Gorlin. Image courtesy of Frank Oudemann and Alexander Gorlin Architects

Each townhouse has its own front stoop. Image courtesy ofFrank Oudemann and Alexander Gorlin Architects

A crane lifts a steel-framed box; modular construction techniques cut building costs at Nehemiah Spring Creek. Image courtesy of Alexander Gorlin Architects



A modern reinterpretation of 19th century Brooklyn brownstone architecture, Nehemiah Spring Creek Houses is an affordable housing development built on the site of a former landfill in Brooklyn, NY. The project is part of a larger mixed-use community, Gateway Estates, which includes housing, retail uses, and a public school. The developer, Nehemiah Housing Development Fund Company, is a non-profit housing affiliate for East Brooklyn Congregations, named for the Old Testament prophet who rebuilt Jerusalem.

Nehemiah Spring Creek uses modular construction techniques to reduce construction time – each home can be built in just 12 days – and hold costs down. Steel-framed boxes consisting of floors, walls, and ceilings are manufactured in a factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, shipped by truck to the site, and lifted by crane onto a foundation. Stacks of two, three, or four modules result in townhomes of varying heights. Each townhouse has its own front stoop, and driveways are placed to the rear to avoid disrupting the streetscape. Project architect Alexander Gorlin, who has written two coffee-table books about American townhomes, said at the project launch in 2006, “As a native New Yorker, I feel it’s the responsibility of every New York architect to provide top-level design at all income levels. I am proud to be involved in Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to make design excellence a part of every New Yorker’s daily life.” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz agreed, saying, “This is what we mean when we talk about smart development: mixed-use, income-diverse communities with street-level commerce. This is not a case of ‘If you build it, they will come.’ This is based on the belief that ‘If you build it, they will stay.’”