caliper studio: nitehawk cinema and apartments, brooklyn
caliper studio: nitehawk cinema and apartments, brooklyn caliper studio: nitehawk cinema and apartments, brooklyn
apr 01, 2013

caliper studio: nitehawk cinema and apartments, brooklyn

‘nitehawk cinema and apartments’ by caliper studio, williamsburg, brooklyn, new yorkimage © ty coleall images courtesy of caliper studio




a total design by local firm and fabricator caliper studio, ‘nitehawk cinema‘ is williamsburg’s only first-run movie house. the creative hub, located in the westernmost portion of brooklyn, new york, has experienced astounding development in recent decades, both from an influx of creative professionals and consequential gentrification. the movie theater keeps with the metropolitan need for vertical density and mixed used buildings by primarily offering new yorkers a cinema eatery, complete with bars, cafes and a commercial kitchen topped by three floors of residential apartments.


all the dwellings have access to outdoor space through a shared courtyard or private roof deck at the penthouse level, a rarity in an area with such highly sought realty. the cinema  has managed to change local culture, having been the force that single-handedly overturned a new york state prohibition era law that disallowed the consumption of alcohol in movie theaters. the independent theater also sought to make a mark on the landscape while integrating the area’s local brownstone architectural typology. while the turn-of-century style favors triassic sandstone masonry, the nitehawk’s facade breaks a strict orthogonal brick storefront with a zinc, LED and glass facade. caliper studio fabricated the skin of patterned, manually cast glass lights and CNC milled 247 unique zinc panels. the result is an exuberant architectural gesture that begins to hint at the ever-changing but always shared cinematic experience.

the cinema and apartments total about 23,000 square feet of space image © ty cole

the LED skin is a bright, but restrainted break from the surrounding vernacular buildingsimage © ty cole

zinc plates were CNC milled to fit the pattern of cast glass lights image © ty cole

the lights have a presence both during the day and at night image © ty cole

three storeys of apartments top the movie house image © ty cole

brick meets zincimage © ty cole

the linear awning element was also designed and fabricated by caliper studio image © ty cole

view of the second floor bar and concession stand image © ty cole

ground floor bar image © ty cole

interior view image © ty cole

staircase to lobby and ticketing area image © ty cole

theater three image © ty cole

theater one image © ty cole

interior view of one of theater two image © ty cole

fabrication and installation of the LED facadeimage © ty cole

image © ty cole

the facade is a network of lighting nodes

image © ty cole

detail of LED lights texture

image © ty cole

PATTERN EVOLUTION from Caliper Studio on Vimeo.

plan cellar floor

floor plan level 0

floor plan level 1

plan level 2

  1. junction box
  2. electrical conduit
  3. continuous galvanized steel angle for mounting panels
  4. air barrier
  5. zinc window header
  6. 20″ galvanized bent steel angle mounted to structural stud
  7. 3-diode LED module
  8. custom cast glass lens with frosted back
  9. zinc building trim
  10. zinc window jamb
  11. zinc window sill
  12. pre-weathered zinc cassette panel

over 200 unique CNC files for the zinc facade

section perspective

  • Beautiful… I guess few spots with diff colour might have look more creative and attractive. Any way it looks stunning.

    Nicky says:
  • Simple and just nice.

    Leeya says:
  • Lovely building and by far my favorite movie theater in NY!!

    ThomasV says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
502,536 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample