The newest sign of the ongoing upswing in the South Bronx, once a national symbol of urban decay, is the dynamic exterior of Via Verde, a just-completed 222-unit apartment complex for households in the low- to middle-income brackets. It has a 20-story tower anchoring one end and terraces that step down toward the other. Projecting sunshades punctuate the street-facing elevation, which is made up of warm-toned wood, matte fiber cement, and silvery aluminum rainscreen panels.
Upon first seeing this project and its lively exterior, many people are surprised to learn that it is subsidized housing. However, its designers think this is an odd response. “There shouldn’t be a different lens for evaluating affordable housing,” says Vincent Chang, a partner in the New York office of London-based Grimshaw Architects. “Quality should exist at every market sector.”