HELP 1 RESIDENCE

LOCATION / BROOKLYN, NY

 

2009 New York City Public Design Commission. Award for Excellence in Design

 

The HELP 1 Family Residence Housing Complex fills an entire city block in Brooklyn and includes two large residential buildings with 196 units and a community center.  For this renovation, we are replacing all of the facades on the residential buildings.  The existing facades needed to be replaced as they were allowing water penetration, and did not provide sufficient insulation for the interiors.  The damage was also readily visible from the street. 

Given the large footprint and visual presence of these buildings, we saw an opportunity to create a positive impact for the community, both the neighbors and the residents.  We sought to convey a feeling of optimism and quality. Color and different panel thicknesses animate the façade by breaking down the individual blocks while working with and emphasizing the massing of the existing building form.

Our renovation will create a more energy efficient structure. The existing units are precast concrete pods with a large thermal mass.  By installing insulated operable windows and a more efficient skin we can take advantage of cross ventilation, the stabilizing thermal effect of the concrete structure and daily fluctuations in temperature to help maintain a cooler interior temperature passively during hot months, without air conditioners. In the winter, the efficient skin will reduce heating requirements. 

Several safety features will be upgraded as well including an addressable fire alarm system and compliance with OSHA regulations. Structural renovations include replacing the existing exterior stairs and parapet structures. The existing exterior walkway and stairs foster activity and exercise in line with the NYC Active Design Guidelines.