In the still mostly traditional design environment of Dyker Heights, an architect with an appetite for the contemporary makes his statement
by MATT SCANLON
When Dmitriy Shenker, owner and principal of Shenker Architects, was debating designs for his Dyker Heights home, he knew that one consideration prevailed above all others. In the still mostly Italian community, with its profusion of either plain-faced façades, odes to Mediterranean villas, or riffs on Northeastern Traditional, he wanted an injection of practical modernism. After years of budget juggling, work distractions, and wrestling with the city’s rigid neighborhood zoning restrictions, the payoff is this 4,900-square-foot, fourbedroom, six-bathroom multilevel exercise in expansive interior spaces, virtual and actual connections to the backyard grounds and pool, and making full advantage of the southeast facing rear of the home (by far the more coveted of the neighborhood exposures).
Shenker is originally from Kiev, Ukraine, but studied architecture in the former Soviet Union, moved to the United States in 1992, and established his eponymous firm in 1996. In its nearly 20 years of operation, Shenker Architects has tackled everything from small-scale commercial (pharmacies and other retail) to single-family and multifamily residential, all the way to a mixed use commercial/residential multistory tower occupying a full block in Queens. Among its honors is a 2010 Award of Excellence from the American Institute of Architects Brooklyn Design Competition for an ultra-modernistic Tottenville, Staten Island single-family residence, so clean, uncluttered lines and witty intersections of space is nothing new to the owner. Still, he admits that this home had an unmistakable personal significance about it, along with no shortage of challenges.