This N.Y.C. Tower Is Made from Handmade Glazed Bricks Imported from a Small Fishing Village in Spain

The bricks match the artsy, gritty feel of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Photo: INC Architecture & Design

When designing 196 Orchard, a 94-unit apartment on New York City’s Lower East Side, Adam Rolston, creative and managing director at INC, looked to a small fishing town in Spain to find the perfect building blocks. “When we think of New York City’s contemporary architecture, we tend to think of the modern glass tower,” Rolston says.

But because the Lower East Side is known as an edgy bohemian area with a tougher, more artsy vibe, his team felt that a traditional glass structure didn’t mesh with the surroundings. “We looked for a material humble enough to belong comfortably on the scrappy Lower East Side and luxurious enough to attract a contemporary resident.”

Rolston wanted a handmade, metallic-glazed brick that would evoke the old-world character of glazed terra-cotta while also bringing a touch of luxury. He found it in Cadaqués, a small community in Spain formerly visited by artists such as Picasso and Miró. “We went to Europe to find a handmade, metallic-glazed brick—and specifically the Costa Brava of Spain where this particular handmade brick-making tradition survives,” Rolston says.


Brick Building in New York City

Building exterior  Photo: INC Architecture & Design

The hand-laid, gilded-bronze brick—which reaches the second floor of the building—is infused with gold dust that becomes more golden over time as it oxidizes in the air. Imported directly from Cadaqués, the brick cannot be replicated in the United States, meaning that the building has a truly distinct and one-of-a-kind look.

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Closings for 196 Orchard will begin late next year. The studio to four-bedroom apartments are priced from $965,000 to $6.5 million.

Gold brick building in New York City

Terrace  Photo: INC Architecture & Design

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