Kings and Queens of Brooklyn’s Row Houses Displayed on Deck of Cards


If you’ve ever dreamt of placing a bet to claim a Federal wood frame in Brooklyn Heights or an Italianate brownstone in Carroll Gardens, now is your chance. Dumbo-based architecture firm The Brooklyn Studio (formerly CWB Architects) has released a deck of cards featuring iconic row houses from across the city as a way to raise funds for the Historic Districts Council.

The set’s 15 watercolor illustrations of the iconic houses from across Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx were done by Brooklyn artist Diane Hu, and include 10 Brooklyn properties.

The Jack of Spades boasts a neo-Tudor in Park Slope, the Jack of Diamonds is the wood-frame Federal in Brooklyn Heights, the King of Diamonds is a Renaissance Revival in Prospect Heights, the Joker takes the face of an Italianate in Carroll Gardens, and the informational card is a Queen Anne in Cobble Hill. The back of all the cards features Flemish bond, an iconic brick pattern used for Federal houses.

images of the playing cards with rowhouses on one side and brick on the other

Images via Brooklyn Studio

The Brooklyn Studio’s Brendan Coburn said in a press release the cards “are a tribute to New York City’s rich architectural heritage.” He told Brownstoner the cards gives players the chance to “reflect on the importance of preserving New York’s historic fabric for future generations” and added the decks are also “a celebration of history, art, and the shared moments that make our work meaningful.”

“This project is intended to make historic preservation more fun and accessible, especially for younger generations,” he said, adding each card identifies the house’s architectural style and date of construction.

The decision to collaborate with, and fundraise for, HDC came down to the organization’s commitment to preserving historic buildings, neighborhoods, and public spaces, Coburn said. “Architectural stewardship is core to our firm’s DNA, and we couldn’t think of a better collaborator than HDC.”

watercolors and one of the playing cards

Photo via Brooklyn Studio

Marketing consultant Christopher Devine, who worked on the project, said the overall goal with the decks was to capture “the incredible architectural diversity of New York City row houses.”

“The illustrations include some of New York’s more traditional styles: Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Renaissance Revival, and Romanesque Revival. But they also include more eclectic styles: Moorish Revival, Flemish Renaissance, and Neo-Tudor,” he said, adding many of the Brooklyn houses featured had been rehabilitated by Brooklyn Studio.

The font of the cards is a newly released typeset called Community Gothic, which echoes the “gritty imperfections of nineteenth-century print,” according to the press release, and the decks were printed by the Expert Playing Card Company to “exacting specifications.”

It isn’t the studio’s first foray into games and crafts: Last year the firm created a Lego set memorializing Brooklyn landmarks. The set wasn’t initially available for purchase, but later was made available for sale, with proceeds going to the HDC.

The cards cost $20 a set with all profits going to HDC.

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