Program: A six-story, 78,000-square-foot affordable housing complex for low-income and formerly homeless residents in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Designed for the New York City-based nonprofit developer Common Ground, the 161-unit residence offers studio apartments, as well as an interior courtyard, computer lab, fitness center, and laundry facilities. Designed for LEED silver certification, the residence uses a bevy of sustainable design elements, including a 3,400-square-foot green roof, solar panels, light and motion sensors, and low-flush toilets.
Design concept and solution: The architects relied on a non-intrusive aesthetic and lined the exterior of the building with red brickwork. They also installed large, modular windows to facilitate community engagement and reduce energy consumption. Built on the site of a former parking lot, the L-shaped edifice abuts two existing four-story residential buildings and uses energy-efficient materials to reduce energy costs. Building on the idea that sustainable design is both economically prudent and healthy for residents, the architects created an adjacent garden flanked by concrete paths crafted from permeable pavers made out of post-consumer recycled glass.