156th Street Development

Organization Name: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects

Project Title: 156th Street Development

Project Location: Melrose, Bronx

Project Description:
A new 12-story building with 175 units of 100% affordable housing and a charter school, 156th Street is one of the first Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) developments in the Bronx. The development, located in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx replaces a one-story garage and parking lot with a school and much needed affordable housing. The K-4 Brilla Veritas Elementary School, developed with Civic Builders, is located at the first floor and lower level. The school allows for abundant daylight, as the steeply sloped site permits much of the school’s lower level to have windows and natural light on the street. Along with classrooms and offices, is a multi-purpose room which serves as a gymnasium and a cafeteria. The windows of the school have a playful vertical movement, and the facade accented with brightly colored metal panels. Above the school, the residential portion of the building is clad in alternating brick to temper the scale of the building. Large metal panel accents punctuate the brick, adding another level of texture within the cohesive building. The community and laundry rooms are adjacent to a setback recreational terrace.

Community Impact:
The development creates an active use building across the street from another school and fills in a missing tooth of the neighborhood. The residential entrance located at the high point of the site and on the quieter Cauldwell Avenue allows for the ease of pick up and drop off at 156th Street school entrance.
Completed in August 2020, the Brilla Veritas Elementary School is adapted to allow for students to have in person learning during COVID-19, with the implementation of protective barriers at each seat, a reduction in the number of students per class, along with an oversized vestibule allowing for social distancing during arrival and departure. Brilla’s belief that a joyful culture, built upon positive relationships and strong character, is essential to productive student outcomes, provides students with a social and emotional program rooted in character development intentionally woven throughout the school day and week.
The building expands on the much needed educational and affordable housing opportunities in Melrose. In addition, the sustainable features such as rooftop photovoltaics reduce the impact of the building on the community.

Organization Description:
Phipps Houses is the oldest and largest not-for-profit developer, owner, and manager of affordable housing in New York City. Civic Builders is a nonprofit facilities developer and lender that provides real estate solutions for charter schools. Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, a WBE, is an award-winning architecture and planning firm with a mission to improve the built environment in a sustainable and socially conscious manner, believing everyone deserves quality design, and that design can effect positive change for individuals and communities.

Team Members:

Phipps Houses
Civic Builders, Inc.
Brilla Veritas Elementary School
Curtis + Ginsberg Architects
Mega Contracting Group
Skyline Engineering
De Nardis Engineering
Bright Power

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