4.22.2006

Outsider architecture in Brooklyn

Gothamist writes about Broken Angel, a building constantly being transformed by self-taught architect Arthur Wood in Brooklyn. Wood bought the building for $2,000 in 1971 and has been working on it ever since. A New York Times piece in 2002 likened the house, where Wood and his wife and cats live, to "a blimp impaled on a church or a laboratory from which some mad scientist might launch a pedal-driven flying machine." See more at the Broken Angel Flickr pool.

4 comments:

Clarence Thrun said...

Broken Angel is where Dave Chappelle's Block Party was filmed. There is a lot of great footage of Dave walking around the the building with Wood and his wife.

christopher wood said...

Sadly today at 1pm Broken Angel caught fire by natural causes. No one was hurt minimal damage was done. Many thanks to the FDNY for quicky putting out the fire. Any contributions are welcome addressed to Arthur Wood, 4 Downing St, Brooklyn NY 11238, to help us rebuild. Thank you Brooklyn for all of your support. photo of the fire at http://www.flickr.com/photos/onebadapple/sets/

christopher wood said...

My parents, Arthur and Cynthia Wood have been living in fear of the building department after a threat this week to throw them out on to the street without even their family possessions or artwork, and destroy their home of 30 years "Broken Angel". Last night someone placed a broken angel statue in front of my parent’s door at 4 Downing Street. http://www.flickr.com/photos/onebadapple Thank you to the anyonomus donor, it meant the world to me and my parents as it gave us a spark of hope.
Many of you wonder what the hell my parents are doing with that building. They always were building an outline of a dream, a building that was different from the usual architecture of today. They did this while never having enough money to complete their dream. But that didn't stop them for using found or discarded objects that we throw away ever day like the glass bottles that they used to create a stained glass windows. http://www.flickr.com/photos/onebadapple/sets This is the interior and exterior of Broken Angel. My name is Christopher Wood, I have worked for B&H Art in Architecture (web site here http://www.bandhartinarch.com/) for the past 4 years. I am a stone carver and have restored such landmarks such as the Cloisters Museum , Metropolitan Museum of Art , and Grace Church in Manhattan.
My parents and I would love to give back to the community of Brooklyn and turn Broken Angel into a nonprofit foundation for music and the arts which would include a school and museum. There are also complete building plans drawn up by my father in which the first page can viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/onebadapple/168044712/in/set-127493 But we need help from you, the residents of New York City.
All of your comments and ideas are welcome

Donations can be sent to Arthur Wood at
4 Downing street Brooklyn, New York 11238
I am at work on a web site with friends of Broken Angel to accept paypal donations

christopher wood said...

Update Broken Angel 10/29/06
On 10/10/06 Broken Angel suffered minimal damage from a fire at the top of the structure. The cause of the fire is unknown and still under investigation. Broken Angel has been an active project of construction by my family beginning in 1979. Major construction was finished in 2002, and all work done thereafter has been for the purpose of maintaining the building. The fire brought the attention of the Department of Buildings (DOB), previous interactions had occurred in 1986, and 2002 with no action taken against the building. During the course of building and maintaining the structure there have been no accidents or complaints. Compared with most modern construction projects, such as the Time Warner building in NYC, this is an excellent record. It raises questions as to why large developers are allowed to continue construction when they pose a risk to the community, whereas Broken Angel, which has no history of construction problems, has been singled out as a danger. My mother and father, the legal guardians and owners of Broken Angel were threatened with eviction for 6 days. On the 7th day they were vacated by the police without a court order or engineer’s report. We question the necessity and the humanity of this action. They were told that this was done for their safety; however action was taken prior to any inspection of the interior of the building by an engineer. Furthermore, we were told that the building would be demolished in 3 weeks if an architect did not submit plans to bring it to code. We have been compliant with this request. We are thankful to the firm of Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture http://www.jpda.net/news.html for all of their help and support. On Thursday (10/26/06) an engineer from the DOB toured the structure, and the next day the DOB released a different story. A DOB spokesperson recently commented to the Daily News (10/27/06) that any demolition orders, if warranted will take approximately 3 months to begin.