Reactivating a stalled construction site in downtown Brooklyn, Dekalb Market is an open-air gathering space and retail complex built from 86 salvaged shipping containers. Composed of an incubator farm, a community kitchen, a 10,000 sf. event space, a community garden, and a collection of 14 restaurants and 82 work-sell spaces, the project transformed an inactive brownfield eyesore into a thriving community of small businesses.

As a 24-month interim use of the site, Dekalb was designed with quick construction and efficient relocation in mind. Responding to this prerequisite, ORE conceived a series of spaces on the 43,000 sf site defined by shipping containers modified into storefronts the program of which includes retail shops, restaurants, and 2 DJ booths/record stores. ORE was present onsite continually during the 6-week construction period, overseeing the build-out this new typological space. To meet the deadline, the client increased the scope of services to include supervision of the purchase, transportation, and onsite placement of the 86 shipping containers.

Specifying salvaged material was one successful strategy for managing the cost of the project; ultimately, the total hard costs were less than $30/sf. The result is economic opportunity to cultivate Brooklyn’s creative entrepreneurs. Through outdoor place making and juxtaposition of uses, Dekalb Market is both a gathering and exhibition space – not just for products – but also for the intangibles of culture, education, senses, and ideas.

Client: Youngwoo & Associates, Urban Space
Program: Shipping container market, farm, community kitchen, event space
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Area: 43,000 sf.
Status: Completed 2010
Awards: 2012 Public Designual Commission’s 30th Annual Award for Excellence in Design, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce “2012 Retail Award”