New Apartment Building & Community Center

This mixed-use building will house grandparents raising their grandchildren and a community center for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Mount Vernon. The building will be located in a residential neighborhood consisting of detached single-family houses and low rise, 1920s, apartment buildings.

The apartments will occupy the upper floors (2nd through 6th floor) and the Boys and Girls Clubs will occupy the lower floors (ground floor, first and second basement) with a small library, computer lab and mini basketball court. The sloped site will let natural light into the lower floors.

The critical issues were (1) how to deal with the disparity of scale between the old and the new and (2) how to use "green" design to improve the quality of the residents' life.

We opted to give a sense of individuality to each apartment by designing features that encourage residents' interaction with the outdoors - this approach will, we hope, foster patterns of use sympathetic with those of the existing neighborhood.

Faceted balconies will animate the building exterior, allow tenants to enjoy views and the outdoors and give an identity to each apartment. Passive sustainable features include floor to ceiling bedroom windows with sliding louvered shutters for natural ventilation, corner ventilation for 70% of the apartments, shading provided by the balconies (with the possibility of planting as well) and a Green Roof.

Client: Westhab
Square footage: 40,470 Gross Square Feet
Number of Stories: 6
Number of Units: 29 2-bedroom apartments
Status: Feasibility study completed