SOCIAL HOUSING IN BROOKLYN: A bustling thoroughfare runs through a cozy neighborhood
Design competition sponsored by New Housing New York (NHNY) and the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY). Design team: Ana Rolim and Christoph Wagner
Our proposal seeks to wed these two realities - the 4th Avenue thoroughfare quality and the coziness of the surrounding neighborhood - by reflecting the proportions of both. Placing long narrow slabs parallel to 4th Ave mirrors the dynamism and orientation of that street. The depth of the buildings and its openings are direct references to the proportions of the adjacent townhouses.
The site lacks public open spaces and parks that characterize neighboring areas. From an urban planning viewpoint, our prioritization of green spaces situates the building as part of the network of significant open spaces, namely Greenpoint Cemetery, Prospect Park, and Red Hook’s waterfront.
Within the site itself, our proposal creates and interconnects public and private outdoor spaces. The green areas (center openings, rooftop gardens, and the median grass area) all encourage a flow of open space that also connects with backyards and private gardens in the neighborhood . As a consequence of this flow there is a natural circulation through the central infrastructure of the buildings.
The proposed buildings themselves have a generous square footage of common spaces, while the single apartments have relatively small footage. Common facilities include laundry rooms on every floor, and bicycle/stroller storage on the ground floor.
The building structure is made of simple reinforced concrete. As we are attracted to using wood as a renewable resource and for its thermal properties, this material is used for window frames, façade panels, interior structure in duplex apartments, and exterior siding. All rooms have passive cross-ventilation and abundant natural sunlight, which will cut down on the unnecessary and wasteful use of air conditioning and daytime artificial lighting.