Betances VI Family Residences

Organization Name: think! architecture & design pllc. with Lemle & Wolff Companies, The Bridge and Alembic Community Development.

Project Title: Betances VI Family Residences

Project Location: 472-474 Willis Avenue, Mott Haven, Bronx, NY

Project Goals:
The goal of the project is contribute to the vitality of the neighborhood; strengthen Willis Avenue and draw from the commercial activity of The Hub. The building is to provide highly concentrated new affordable residences for families and homeless veterans integrated into a single residential community. For the supportive housing component, our goal is to create a physically and emotionally safe, welcoming environment that empowers people to pursue their own paths towards coping, healing and recovery. The architecture is to be a "good neighbor" that fits well with the surrounding context, contributes to the quality of the built environment and can be perceived as an asset to all in the community.

Project Description:
The building will provide 101 units on a 15 story tower sitting on a commercial base anchoring the intersection of Willis Avenue and East 146th Street. The higher portion of the building is located to the south, as far as possible from the existing NYCHA housing. The building steps down towards the NYCHA building in order to connect itself to the neighborhood and the existing playground to the north. Sitting in a busy and visually varied street, the facade treatment is serene and simple in nature, easy to build and timeless in character. The gridded wall system with colored panels foster a sense of openness without excessive glass areas. To further break down the mass of the building, a recessed area in a different building material defines a lower zone, meant to relate to the commercial scale of Willis Ave. At the second floor, above the commercial space, there is a landscaped terrace serves as the principal outdoor private amenity for the building residents.

Community Impact:
Willis Avenue is a highly eclectic street with a variety of commercial, retail and residential structures of a wide range of architectural styles and materials. The surrounding context varies in height from low buildings to highrise towers. The new building responds to all these varied scales and uses through its massing and design in order to help unify the urban context. By adding a significant number of residential units with modern and adaptable commercial space, we believe this new facility will add life and security to an already vital neighborhood while creating badly needed affordable housing in an ever-changing area.

Organization Description:
think! architecture & design is a 20 person design collaborative based in Downtown Brooklyn, led by principals Marty Kapell, Jack Esterson and Ernesto Vela. While their practice is diversified, their current focus is in affordable and supportive housing. Their core mission is to provide to New York's communities the highest level of design quality, in the belief that the physical environment plays a great part in people's sense of well-being and participation in public life. Lemle & Wolff is a full service firm specializing in the development, construction and management of high-quality affordable housing. For more than 75 years, Lemle & Wolff has invested in the growth and sustainability of New York City’s neighborhoods through a long-term ownership strategy focused on successful partnerships with government, community stakeholders and residents. The Bridge mission is to change lives, by offering help, hope and opportunity to the most vulnerable in the community.

    View of Betances VI from Willis Avenue and 146th Street

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