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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 aims to blend the dynamic energy of 4th Avenue with the cozy ambiance of the surrounding neighborhood by harmonizing their proportions. Long, narrow slabs parallel to 4th Ave mirror its orientation, while the depth of the buildings and their openings align with adjacent townhouses.


Addressing the lack of public open spaces, we prioritize green areas within the site, integrating it into the wider network of significant open spaces like Greenpoint Cemetery, Prospect Park, and Red Hook’s waterfront. Our design creates interconnected public and private outdoor spaces, facilitating a natural flow that extends to backyards and private gardens in the neighborhood.


The buildings feature ample common spaces alongside compact single apartments, with amenities including laundry rooms on each floor and bicycle/stroller storage on the ground floor. Utilizing reinforced concrete for the structure and wood for window frames, façade panels, and siding, we emphasize sustainability and thermal efficiency. With passive cross-ventilation and abundant natural light, our design minimizes reliance on air conditioning and artificial lighting.

Ground floor plan: Long narrow slabs parallel to 4th Avenue reflect the dynamism and orientation of that street

The overall strategy: The building as part of the network of open green spaces

Concept model

Top view: Our proposal creates and interconnects public and private outdoor space.

The green areas encourage a flow of open space that connects with backyard and neighborhood gardens

View from exterior: Suspended garden and pool promote circulation flow through the buildings

Residential unit types

6th floor plan: All rooms have passive cross-ventilation and abundant natural sunlight

8th floor plan: Common facilities include laundry rooms on every floor

Wood is used as a renewable resource and for its thermal properties, such as on the exterior siding.

The proposal creates and interconnects public and private outdoor spaces

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