Organization Name: RKTB Architects, P.C.
Project Title: 1465 and 1473 Fifth Ave. (HPD Site 8)
Project Location: New York, NY
Occupying two infill sites between 118th and 119th Streets in Manhattan, HPD Site 8 (1465 and 1473 Fifth Ave.) was awarded to Artimus Construction Corp. by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development under its Cornerstone Program. The main goal of the program was to facilitate the construction of mixed-income housing on City-owned land. With a strong commitment to the revitalization of Harlem, Artimus recognized that the development of these sites would revive a long blighted block and provide essential neighborhood services as well as much-needed affordable residences. Further, understanding that good design would improve the success of the project, RKTB created a novel expression for the buildings that is architecturally unorthodox for an affordable project.
Each building is 8 stories tall and set back at the street lines at a height of 61’, creating a continuous 6-story street wall. The facades have staggered window arrangements to allow for flexibility in locating apartment walls and to break down the scale. A total of 54 units include apartments ranging from studios to 3-bedroom units. Ground floors are built full and are devoted to commercial use, while residential entrances front Fifth Avenue and lead to well-appointed lobbies with concierge service. Both feature private and public paved roof terraces, private balconies for many units, recreation space, and day-lit corridors for No. 1473. Sustainable features include light-colored roofing which lowers energy consumption in summer; energy efficient mechanical systems; and durable, long-lasting home appliances and fixtures. A total of 4,257 SF of community facility space was also included in the design. The 80,000 SF project was completed in 2010 at a construction cost of $15 million.
RKTB’s project at 1465 and 1473 Fifth Ave. re-establishes a Harlem block-front that was incomplete for many years. The mixed-use buildings not only promote a sense of community through the integration of mixed income housing, commercial space, and community facility space, but the attractive façade also fits in aesthetically with the neighborhood and demonstrates how affordable housing can be associated with innovative design. Both new buildings are thematically similar and relate architecturally to the early 20th century context of the surrounding neighborhood. The distinctive façade was designed to relate to the brick colors of the surrounding buildings and to create a rhythm of solid to void which accommodates the varying location of partitions from floor to floor. The block not only looks great, but it’s also much safer without the vacant lots.
RKTB Architects, P.C. is an award-winning, full-service architecture and urban design firm with studios that specialize in housing and educational facilities. Among its accomplishments, the firm created an innovative infill “Smart Housing” prototype that has renewed neighborhoods throughout New York by replacing vacant lots with contextual but modern, high quality affordable housing. Founded in 1963, the firm was formerly known as RKT&B and Rothzeid Kaiserman Thomson & Bee, P.C. Recent awards include a Building Award for Excellence in Design and Construction from the Queens & Bronx Building Association for the Msgr. Anthony J. Barretta Apartments; an Excellence in Design Award from the Queens Chamber of Commerce for the Sutphin Boulevard Arcade Shops; a Building Award for Excellence in Design and Construction from the Queens & Bronx Building Association for Bergen Dean Housing (The Maynard Coops); and a Community Service Award from Construction Communications for 455 Central Park West.