Brooklyn Structure: Terracotta Twins in downtown Brooklyn

Editor’s Note: This post was originally run in 2010 and has been updated. You can read the previous post here.

Why those twin buildings at 308-310 Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn have been forgotten and ignored in Brooklyn’s architectural history amazes me. I’ve wondered about them since I first went downtown in the late 1970s.

I remember there was a bookstore in one of them a long time ago. It’s a fabulous Flemish-inspired collection of buildings that would be at home in Amsterdam or Brussels.

Check out these detailed ornate polychrome terracotta figures and the other decorations on the pediments!

Brookyn Architecture 308 Livingston Downtown Brooklyn

The building is nearing completion in 1911. Image via Brooklyn Daily Eagle

They were designed in 1910 by the Kirby and Petit companies, which were later also designed as Kirby, Petit and Green. Together or separately, they are responsible for some great buildings in the New York area and as far as San Francisco.

Brooklyn architecture 308 Livingston Street downtown Brooklyn

They were very eclectic and eclectic, designing many different styles for many different types of buildings, from the listed American banknote buildings in Manhattan and the Bronx, to townhouses in Stuyvesant Heights, to mansions on Long Island and buildings from William Reynolds’ Dreamland amusement park in Coney Island.

John Petit in particular was very talented and is best known in Brooklyn as the architect of many of the large and eclectic homes of Prospect Park South in Victorian Flatbush. He was the official architect appointed by the developers of Prospect Park South.

Brooklyn architecture 308 Livingston Street downtown Brooklyn

His most famous home there, one of many, is probably the Japanese and handicraft-inspired house at 131 Buckingham Road.

Brooklyn architecture 308 Livingston Street downtown Brooklyn

[Photos by Susan De Vries]

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