More Durable with Ductal®: DUMBO Townhouses


How do you tastefully bring townhouses to a historic area of Brooklyn that didn’t have any townhouses? This was the conundrum facing Alloy, the development/design team behind the DUMBO Townhouses on an old warehouse site at the corner of Pearl and Water Streets. Known as the area Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO), the neighborhood has evolved in recent decades from an industrial zone to a bustling, mixed-use area of galleries, shops and theatres.


The innovative design solution for the new six-story residential development featured a high performance building envelope surrounded by a beautiful louvered façade panel system made with Ductal® ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC). With its unique combination of superior strength, ductility, durability and aesthetics, Ductal allows designers to create thinner façade panels with longer spans that are lighter and more graceful in geometry and form, while providing improved durability and impermeability against corrosion, abrasion and impact. Furthermore, the product’s high fluidity allows it to be poured into extremely complex and varied forms.  

The facade of the five luxurious, energy-efficient DUMBO townhouses comprises five rows of one-inch-thick Ductal® fins with either windows or more Ductal® behind them. Produced by Gate Precast, each of the 18-foot-wide by 11-foot-tall Ductal® louvered panels contains a series of ribs and no rebar. A series of stainless steel rods connects the backs of the 32 panels directly to a partially grouted concrete masonry unit wall system. All of the windows and connections aligned perfectly, ensuring a relatively easy and successful installation process.

The developer was extremely impressed with the precision, detail and quality of the Ductal® louvered panels, which cover a total surface area of 8,650 square feet. In an old neighborhood built largely with brick, the thin, clean lines of the Ductal® fins provide a sleek design element with a custom patina color to create an elegant contextual residential development in the DUMBO district of Brooklyn.