Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Set between an historic neighborhood of mostly single-family houses on one side and a busy thoroughfare on the other, the Dr. Kennedy Homes'a low-income housing project for both seniors and families'negotiates the differences between competing conditions and interests. Walking around the 8.5-acre site in Fort Lauderdale, you notice what ties the complex together rather than what might pull it apart: the balconies and outdoor walkways that offer residents views of their surroundings, the breezeways and shaded courtyards that connect indoors and out, and the rolling landscape that features more than 440 native trees.
Responding to community concerns, the city kept the number of dwelling units in the new complex the same as before'132'even though Fort Lauderdale needs more affordable housing, and zoning would have allowed 212 units on the site. Glavovic Studio, the local architecture firm hired to design the project, reacted to neighborhood sensitivities as well, placing the two largest buildings along heavily trafficked Broward Boulevard on the north and setting the smallest ones on the south, adjacent to the Sailboat Bend historic district.
Margi Nothard, the founder and design director of Glavovic, had designed mostly civic buildings in the area, including the Young At Art Museum and Broward County Library and the ArtsPark at Young Circle. She lives in Sailboat Bend, so she understood the concerns of the neighbors while also being committed to improving public housing. 'I see low-income housing as part of the public realm,' says Nothard. 'We need to weave it into the community as a whole.'
So she approached the job as an urban-design challenge, reinforcing Broward Boulevard with a pair of five-story buildings'one for seniors and one for families'and designing two- and three-story structures that have pinwheel-shaped plans and step down to the scale of low-rise neighbors. She wasn't able to reintroduce through streets into the superblock, but she did add a pair of driveways on the east and west to open the project to the rest of the city. She also redesigned the housing project's ground plane, transforming a flat, undifferentiated topography into a more engaging landscape of winding paths, small hills, and planted swales that retain rainwater so the rest of the site stays dry.
'My first charge to Margi,' says Scott Strawbridge, the director of development and facilities for the housing authority, 'was to build us a park and then fit housing in it.' One advantage of erecting just 132 units was the amount of green space that it left. According to Strawbridge, 54 percent of the site is open space, and 90 mature canopy trees were preserved, though a few had to be moved. 'We located the buildings to accommodate the trees,' which shade the apartments and create attractive places to walk, explains Nothard.
The $16 million project encompasses eight new apartment buildings and three existing single-story structures renovated as community spaces. Twenty percent of the dwellings house people making 28 percent or less of the area's median income ($56,400 per year) and 80 percent serve those making 60 percent or less of the AMI. Monthly rents range from $376 for a 650-square-foot one-bedroom unit to $1,117 for a 1,085-square-foot three-bedroom apartment.
The Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority owns the project, but brought in a private company, Carlisle Development, to build it and operate it jointly with the city for 15 years. Funding came from mostly low-income-housing tax credits, along with some state money and private-equity investment. 'We're divorcing ourselves from the old model of public financing and are now partnering with the private sector,' says Strawbridge.
Environmental concerns played an important role in shaping the project, which earned a LEED Gold rating. All of the apartments in the six pinwheel buildings and the great majority of those in the two larger buildings are accessed from single-loaded outdoor hallways, so they enjoy cross-ventilation and daylight from at least two sides. 'Most residents here can't afford to run air-conditioning all year round, so catching breezes is important,' says Nothard.
Almost all of the units have a small outdoor space, whether a balcony, terrace, or patio. Security was a critical issue, so Nothard made sure residents at home can see people as they approach from near and far. The site is not fenced, but there are gates at the entrances to covered patios at the center of each pinwheel building, secured lobbies in the big buildings, and surveillance cameras all around. Crime is 'way down' from the days of the old project, says Strawbridge. The main complaint now is the size of the units, even though they are larger than before. 'I love it here, but I wish it was bigger,' says Shirley Carson, who lives in a 945-square-foot two-bedroom apartment.
With its projecting balconies, dashes of color, and myriad outdoor spaces, the Dr. Kennedy Homes brings the spirit of southern Florida living to people who in the past could rarely afford it.
Client: Carlisle Development Group
Owner: Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale (HACFL)
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Architect of record: Glavovic Studio, Inc.
Interior designer: Margi Nothard, Glenda Puente
Civil: HSQ Group, Inc.
Mechanical: Franyie Engineers, Inc.
Lighting: Lighting Dynamics, Inc.
Other: LEED Consultant: Abney and Abney Green Solutions
General contractor: BJ&K
174,300 square feet
Existing Buildings: restoration and reinforcement of concrete masonry wall and wood roof structure
Metal/glass curtain wall: All American Windows: hurricane impact windows and glass patio doors, and storefront system in Community Room
Wood: wood truss and plywood sheathing FSC Certified documented per LEED requiremants
Moisture barrier: Tamko Moisture Wrap
Other cladding unique to this project: Metal mesh 4” wire grid panels for vertical gardens, handrails, security fences, and monument sign, 3Form: Custom photography 3 Form Eco-resin panels for wayfinding and security at entrances
Metal: Englert, Series 1300: Standing seam sheet metal at two and three story family buildings and entrances and Drop off canopy:
Tile/shingles: Entegra Roof Tile: Existing buildings replaced tile to be consistent with original cement tile from 1940’s, white cement tile
Other: American Hydrotech: hot fluid applied rubberized asphalt under walkable tile areas
Other: PPG Glass Block: courtyard fire rated glazing
Metal doors: All American Windows (aluminum and glass)
Wood doors: interior flush doors by Graham
Closers: Rixon Gate Closer Model 1351
Pulls: Assa Abloy Rockwood Standard straight pull powder coat finish
Security devices: iClass: card reader at the gates
Other special hardware:
Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams: principal color white with several varying colors within the concrete balconies and window frame modules.
Plastic laminate: Wilson Art: custom digital imagery imprinted on laminate for elevator cab panels and kitchen cabinetry; Doormark, Inc: laminate at unit kitchen and bathroom doors and kitchenette in community rooms and leasing office; Formica Colorcore: Countertop surfacing at unit kitchens and kitchenette in community rooms and leasing office.
Solid surfacing: Classic Cultured Marble, Inc: Marble sinks at unit bathrooms.
Special surfacing: Vitriturf – SprinkleFlex: Children’s playground surface;
Floor and wall tile: D&B Tile/Atlas Concorde: Floor tile in all units, community room and leasing office; D&B Tile/American Olean: Wall tile in unit bathrooms at tub back/side walls, and community room, leasing office and gym bathrooms, custom design by Glavovic Studio.
Resilient flooring: ArmorPoxySupraTile: gym flooring
Carpet: FLOR: Modular carpet tile at community rooms and leasing office, custom design by Glavovic Studio.
Reception furniture: Blu Dot: Lounge chairs at leasing office, Kartell: Side table at leasing office
Fixed seating: Wausau Tile: exterior concrete benches
Chairs: Heller: Dining/game chairs at community rooms
Tables: Kartell: Dining/game tables at community rooms, Zeus: high-top table at community room,
Upholstery: Blu Dot: Lounge chairs at community rooms
Other furniture: Kartell: bookshelf units at community rooms, CB2: Console/shelf at community room, Ikea: magazine rack at leasing office, Heller: bench at gym, LMNOQ (artist): wall hooks at community rooms and leasing office; Wausau Tile: exterior trash/recycle receptacles
Blu Dot/Kartell/Heller/Zeus Contact:
Wausau Tile Contact:
Landscape Structures Contact:
Downlights: Cooper Lighting Neo-Ray Surface
Task lighting: Ikea: desk light fixtures in community rooms and leasing office.
Exterior: Cooper Lighting Invue: LED post light fixture throughout site; Cooper Lighting Shaper: exterior wall mounted fixtures; Cooper Lighting Halo Teron Lighting: Ceiling mounted corridor fixture;
Cooper/Neo-Ray/Teron/Primus Lighting Contact:
Caroma International Contact
Stiebel Eltron Contact:
Other unique products that contribute to sustainability: Wausau Tile: Metal bike racks throughout the site.