4. The Coignet Building

Coignet Building in Gowanus

The Coignet Building, located next to Whole Foods, was built to show off what the Coignet Stone Company could do with Moulded concrete, or beton-coignet as it was called in France. The material was patented by French industrialist François Coignet and consisted of a mix of sand, lime and cement. William Field and Son designed the building, which was completed in 1873. In addition to working as a showcase, it also held the company’s offices. Another building New York City made to show off material is the New York Terra-Cotta Company building that still stands beneath the Queensboro Bridge.

The building was landmarked in 2006 and renovated by Whole Foods as part of the deal to purchase the land. Before renovation the historical concrete facade was covered in faux brick. Other New york City buildings that feature work by the Coignet Stone Company include the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleft Ridge Span in Prospect Park and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.