The Schermerhorn Brooklyn, Common Ground Community New York, Building
The Schermerhorn, NY : Common Ground Community Brooklyn
Subsidized Housing in New York City – design by Ennead Architects
Jul 11, 2011
Common Ground Community
Brooklyn, New York
Design: Ennead Architects
Schermerhorn House seeks to define a new paradigm for subsidized housing in New York City. The 97,000 square foot building is one element of an overall block development in Boerum Hill, on the edge of downtown Brooklyn and is part of the master plan for Site A in the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Urban Renewal Plan, which requires that half the units be affordable.
Developed by Common Ground Community with co-sponsor The Actors’ Fund, the building provides “supportive housing” for single adults transitioning out of homelessness, persons living with HIV/AIDS and low-income community residents, with a preference accorded to those employed in the performing arts and entertainment industries.
Formally and spatially, the building creates a community environment within the City that exemplifies Common Ground’s goal of building safe, affordable, attractive and sustainable housing with a comprehensive support system that helps people regain lives of stability and independence. Twenty studio units and a suite containing four single room occupancy units with two shared bathrooms and a common kitchen define each of nine residential floors.
Within the building’s twenty-foot high base and visible from the street, are four steel trusses, which cantilever the building over subway tunnels crossing directly below the site. These trusses structurally isolate the building from the underlying tunnel and support a flat plate concrete structural system above. The panelized glass and aluminum façade minimizes the load on the trusses, while enhancing daylighting within the building.
The building’s two distinct faces respond to the cityscapes to the north and south. Rising from a transparent glass base, five translucent channel glass tower elements define the primary façade. Together they define a dignified luminous presence facing the dense urban fabric of downtown Brooklyn.
Above the second level, the building accommodates 216 residents on nine floors. The building’s structural rhythm and textural quality express the interior organization of the program into small residential units.
Sustainable design principles informed the design and the selection of systems and materials for the project. The primary façade features a channel glass wall that is fabricated with a high percentage of post-consumer waste glass. Low E glazing is used in all other windows and curtainwall systems of the building to enhance thermal performance. Additionally the second floor “green” roof terrace supports this initiative and minimizes heat island effect. Within the building, high efficiency condensing boilers for heating and hot water are utilized along with HFC refrigerants in the cooling system of the public spaces. Occupancy sensors and energy-efficient lighting and appliances are specified throughout, along with low VOC paints and adhesives. Linoleum flooring is used in each apartment and throughout the public spaces of the building.
At the ground level, retail and lobby spaces are visually open and accessible to the public, enlivening the pedestrian experience along Schermerhorn Street. Additionally, a flexible multi-purpose room provides space for performances and community activities for tenants and the neighboring area.
The south façade’s horizontal banding of glass and cement board panels hovers above a landscaped roof terrace on the second level which provides a transition to the low-scale residential neighborhood beyond. This south-facing outdoor gathering area visually and spatially extends interior to exterior. The terrace level also incorporates shared tenant spaces and offices for tenant and social services.
The building’s typical residential floor is an efficiently organized, double loaded corridor configuration with twenty studio units and a suite for four residents. Canted panels, inflecting toward each apartment entry, visually animate the circulation spine on each floor. A clearly expressed elevator core unifies vertical circulation throughout the building. Each studio unit provides kitchen, bathroom and living space, and the suites provide individual rooms for each resident in addition to shared kitchen, bath and living space.
The Schermerhorn Common Ground Community Brooklyn – Building Information
Project Title: The Schermerhorn, Common Ground Community
Client: Common Ground Community / The Actors Fund
Government Agencies and Development: NYC Department of Housing Preservation / NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Homeless Housing Assistance Program Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
Architect: Ennead Architects LLP, New York
Design Partner: Susan T. Rodriguez FAIA
Management Partner: Timothy Hartung FAIA
Project Manager: Damyanti Radheshwar AIA
Project Architect: Todd Walbourn AIA
Technical Director: Jim Sinks AIA
Interior Design: Charmian Place
Project Team: Ben Gilmartin, Harry Park, Kevin Miyamura, Melissa Sarko
Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates
MEP Engineer: WSP Flack + Kurtz
Civil/Geo Engineer Services: Langan Engineering and Environmental
Lighting Design: Brandston Partnership
Specifications: Construction Specifications
Acoustics: Shen Milsom & Wilke
Expediter: Design 2147
Graphics: H Plus
Theater: Harvey Marshall Berling Associates
Cost Estimating: Accu-Cost Construction
General Contractor: Marson Contracting Company
Photographs: David Sundberg/Esto
The Schermerhorn Common Ground Community Brooklyn images / information from Ennead Architects
Location: Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, New York City, USA
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