Viva Verde, New York

Name: Via Verde

Location: Bronx, New York, U.S.A

Completed: April 2012

Number and type of affordable/social housing dwellings: Via Verde is an example of sustainable, green design focused on delivering improved community health and socioeconomic outcomes in an inclusive, environmentally-conscious building. The mixed-use, mixed-income development consists of 151 rental apartments and 71 co-ops provided in three buildings, including 2-4 storey townhouses, 6-13 storey mid-rise duplex apartment development, and a 20-storey apartment tower. It also comprises of a central courtyard overlooked by residences, ground-level retail, a community health centre comprising of a medical centre and fitness centre, and a 40,000m2 terraced rooftop garden.

Area of housing continuum: Affordable housing; market sales

Client group served: Mixed income, including low to moderate income earners

Project value: $70million/approx. 300,000sqft

How it was delivered: Via Verde arose as the winning entry from the New Housing New York Legacy Competition held by the then commissioner of the city of New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Shaun Donovan. The competition sought to unify developers with architects in the goal of combining high-quality architecture with modern sustainable ‘green’ design elements in an affordable/public housing venture. Local New York firm Dattner Architects, whom have extensive experience in delivering affordable housing projects, including contracted work for Delancey Street Associates, and renowned London-based firm Grimshaw Architects collaborated in order to deliver the project for their clients, The Phipps Houses Group and Jonathan Rose Companies.

Community consultation was a key part of the design process. Local neighbourhood residents were asked about what kind of building they wanted to see, and a focus on providing a ‘healthy place to live’ emerged from the discussions.

The land was provided and subsidised by the City of New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and its Housing Development Corporation.  

Funding: The $70 million grant was awarded to architectural firms Dattner Architects and Grimshaw Architects and development bodies Phipps Houses Group and Jonathan Rose Companies by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and a volunteer steering committee composed of 20 experts in the housing, development, design and finance industries. The developers also obtained funding from 13 private and public financing partners.

Other information: Health was a key consideration in the design of Via Verde. The central courtyard facilitates cross-ventilation and natural light access. A fitness centre and medical clinic are also included within the development. Staircases are positioned near lifts in order to encourage residents and visitors to walk, and the inclusion of a 40,000m2 rooftop communal garden provides residents with the opportunity to grow their own fruit and vegetable produce. Dwellings originally sold for approximately $79,000 for one-bedroom apartments to $193,000 for a three-bedroom dwelling. The project demonstrates exemplary green sustainability elements through its rainwater harvesting, drought tolerant vegetation within its rooftop and ground level courtyard gardens, ‘green interior’ finishes, a 66 kW building-integrated photovoltaic rooftop system, and LEED NC Gold certification.

Awards:

AIA Housing Award

AIA/HUD Secretary’s Award

SARA/NY Sustainability in Design Award

Urban Land Institute Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Models of Excellence Award

Andrew J. Thomas Housing Award, AIA New York

Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence

Links:

http://www.urbis.com.au/think-tank/newsletters/global-trends-in-mixed-use-development-the-new-paradigm-in-urban-placemaking-2

http://www.dattner.com/portfolio/via-verde/

http://archrecord.construction.com/projects/Building_types_study/Multi-Family-Housing/2012/Via-Verde-Dattner-Architects-Grimshaw-Architects.asp

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-05-22/blighted-bronx-revives-with-roof-gardens-solar-panels

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