Organization Name: West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing with Redtop Architects
Project Title: Borinquen Court Renovations
Project Location: Mott Haven, Bronx, NY
Completed in 2014, the renovation of the existing seven-story Borinquen Court affordable senior housing building in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx included extensive interior and exterior upgrades. Interior work included 145 apartment renovations, new management offices and back-of house spaces, a new commercial kitchen for use as part of a public Senior Center, and renovations to all of the public spaces to create warm and inviting places for the community to gather. Exterior work included new windows, roofs, facade repair, and completely redesigned garden spaces surrounding the building. All building systems were upgraded and accessibility improvements were made throughout. This project had a significant sustainability component and was built in full compliance with Enterprise Green Communities criteria. In addition, a full brownfield remediation was performed on the site. Finally, a striking geometric new canopy walkway provides an uplifting entry to this residence.
As the new owners to a troubled property, WSFSSH’s mission was to be proud stewards of Borinquen Court, providing a joyful and safe space for its tenants and preparing the building for future generations. Working closely with WSFSSH and tenant representatives, Redtop Architects' goal was to create a sense of place in the previously anonymous housing facility by utilizing bright, tropical colors, human-scale details, and maximizing the use of the available natural light throughout the building.
In addition to providing upgraded public and private spaces for the residents of this affordable housing building, a public Senior Center was designed at the first floor in order to provide food service, recreational and educational amenities for senior citizens living in the surrounding Mott Haven neighborhood. Also, a new U-shaped driveway was created for vehicular pick-up and drop-off at the building in order to solve a concern brought to the design team's attention by the existing building's tenants. This driveway, along with adjacent new exterior benches located under the new translucent entry canopy, allows cars and vans to safely drive much closer to the front door of the Borinquen Court building, allowing residents and their guests to much more easily utilize Access-a-Ride and other vehicles.
West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing was formed in 1976 by a coalition of social service agencies, religious institutions, and community organizations. In addition to serving independent seniors, we serve frail elderly individuals, older persons living with serious mental illnesses, homeless individuals, persons living with physically handicapping conditions, grandparents raising their grandchildren, and families. We house over 1,800 people in 24 buildings located on the Upper West Side, and in Harlem, Chelsea, and the Bronx. All WSFSSH housing is developed and run by WSFSSH. The WSFSSH supportive housing model integrates compassionate property management with on-site social services. Working together with our residents, our mission is to provide safe affordable housing that supports the dignity of each individual and enhances community both inside and outside our buildings. WSFSSH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.