PTAC, or Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners, have become a scourge among those with an eye for architecture. As New York continues to build unabated, our skyline, and PTACs, have experienced uninhibited growth.
PTACs are an inexpensive way to heat and cool a room, or multiple rooms as the case may be. They avoid the cost of central air and heat, which can be extraordinary. Just think of all the duct work, lost interior space, massive heating and cooling units, and maintenance required to heat and cool a large highrise. PTACs slice those costs into smithereens. PTACs cost less than $1,000 per unit, and more often in the range of $300-$600 per unit. Also, if one unit breaks, the loss doesn’t take the entire building offline. Further, such units are often found in affordable buildings, but they have crept their way into luxury buildings as well.
Que in 325 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Owned by 325 Kent Avenue LLC, this 525 unit luxury building on the waterfront contains 104 “affordable” units, with the remainder priced at market rate. The overall presentation of the building is quite remarkable, and if you don’t look closely enough, you might not see PTACs hidden behind its metallic facade. Yep, that incredible building that looks like something from outer space is a bona fide PTAC member. But unlike other buildings cropping up, the architects for this building did a good job hiding this ubiquitous problem.
And quite clever of a job indeed. Further inspection of the building finds that every unit has a PTAC, but the facade’s design almost seamlessly integrates the Swiss cheese design to allow air to flow in an out of the individual units. Sure, if you look really close you can tell there’s a PTAC under every window, but the design is far from thoughtless, and takes a big step forward in solving New York’s PTAC crisis.