2007_11_scarano.JPGKudos to The Real Deal for coaxing DUMBO-based designer Robert Scarano out of the shadows. One of the city's most reviled architects, Scarano has been scrutinized by Department of Buildings for his safety and zoning violations. Following a summer outcry, the agency issued stop-work orders on some Scarano sites. He's even being investigated by the NYS Department of Education, which oversees licensed architects, but there is currently no record of disciplinary action.

Overseeing a whopping 350 projects citywide, most of which are in Brooklyn, Scarano is a favorite whipping boy of The Brooklyn Paper for ignoring building codes and zoning rules. Scarano, the self-described architect of "New Brooklyn," is building seven, 12-story condos along Fourth Ave. alone. Three construction-related deaths have occurred at Scarano sites. In 2006, Scarano, in a classic narcissist ploy, blamed jealous rivals for his troubles! He is known for pushing square footage limits by misrepresenting mezzanines on blueprints - and neighbors' buttons.

Among the revelations:

  • On self-certification, which Scarano surrendered last year: "At some point, a light goes off in my head," said Scarano of the review process. "If I continue to fight, it's only hurting my clientele because the work is bogged down with reviews and extra scrutiny."
  • On safety: "Construction accidents are obviously unfortunate. [They are] terrible tragedies, but they can be prevented if you take safety precautions. Although the sites are the responsibility of the general contractor, we have made it a policy for everyone on site to take OSHA safety courses," Scarano said. "We did this seven months before the Buildings Department made this a mandatory requirement. Everyone in my office takes it also."
  • On the halted 16-story Finger Building at 144 N. 8th St. in Williamsburg, which was scorned publicly for its height: "The Finger Building is a tragedy," said Scarano, pointing to the original rendering on a wall in his Brooklyn office. "It was vested under the old zoning, the DOB audited the job, it's professionally certified and in compliance. But it went against the grain in one respect -- Williamsburg was being rezoned [to 10 stories]."
  • On drilling into L-line subway walls: "It was completely fictitious," said Scarano. "Do you think in this day and age, with the amount of inspectors, contractors and the Transit Authority watching the job, that they would permit the drilling into the actual subway tunnel? It's beyond belief."