Last week, we featured a rendering of a South Bronx affordable housing project by Urban Architectural Initiatives, which caught our eye with its clean and colorful façade.
This week, we have two recently finished projects by the same architectural practice, which focuses on affordable housing and other buildings for non-profit and government clients. The two supportive housing structures were designed for Odyssey House, with the help of the New York State Office of Mental Health.
One is a five-story and 56-unit building at 715 Soundview Avenue, in the Soundview section of the East Bronx, and the other is a 65-unit project at 880 Tinton Avenue, in the South Bronx. Both designs feature colorful façades, and stand out among the boring brick boxes that normally characterize non-profit housing development in New York City.
The architects described the Soundview building thusly on their website:
It is located on an unusual triangular site in the Bronx, which challenged UAI to create a dynamic building, clad in a glass-fiber reinforced rain-screen system. A transparent glass façade at the corner entry and lounges on each of the elevator lobbies above contrasts with the paneled face of the residential portions of the building. A third material, painted metal panels, are a symbolic gesture to the mechanical distribution system behind, and serve as an additional colored element in the ensemble of façade materials.
The punched windows at the apartments are designed to take advantage of the shape of the building and direction of the wind and maximize natural ventilation in the apartments. The common spaces including dining, exercise, laundry, and lounge spaces in the cellar open onto a rear yard which terrace up through many levels of urban vegetable gardens until reaching the lobby entry level. Many active and passive energy conservation features are incorporated in the design of the building. This is Odyssey’s first building with LEED certification.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the refreshing lack of PTAC units marring the façades of both buildings, as with their Morissania counterpart. We have yet to come across a firm that’s been winning the war on through-wall air conditioning as handily as UAI, all the more impressive since their clients are non-profits, with less leeway in terms of construction costs.
The Soundview Avenue building opened last December, and the Tinton Avenue site was finished this past October.
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