Organization Name: Urban Architectural Initiatives (UAI)
Project Title: Cedars/Fox Hall
Project Location: 745 Fox Street, Bronx, NY
Developed by the Lantern Group with Friends in the City and designed by UAI, the project team's goals were to simultaneously revitalize a neglected site and provide a much needed community resource in 95 units of affordable housing for low income seniors and their families in the South Bronx. Existing on the site was the Samuel White Mansion, originally built in the 1850's, which stood in the middle of the 70-acre Longwood Park estate. By 1903, the mansion had been turned into a social club and most recently used as a Police Athletic League Center before it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The mansion, renamed Fox Hall, was to be preserved and restored to Landmarks guidelines and serve as the main activity hub and community gathering space at the heart of the project. In addition to providing housing and community space, the development team was dedicated to integrating green sustainable design elements to enhance the living environment and to increase energy use and efficiency.
Cedars is a 95-unit residential building for low-income and formerly homeless seniors and grandfamilies - grandparents raising their grandchildren. Located in the Longwood Historic District of the Bronx, the project includes the adaptive reuse of Fox Hall, a landmarked building, as the focal community-gathering space central to the project. The new nine-story residential portion of the building is a backdrop, which wraps and offsets the renovated landmarked structure. Working closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the façade of Fox Hall was restored to its 1850s appearance. Cedars was awarded a NYSERDA Multi-Family High-Rise Energy Star Program grant which allowed the design team to implement a ground-source geothermal well system for heating and cooling, modular green roof, along with other energy-saving measures to reduce the energy consumption of the building by more than 40%. Cedars was completed in Fall 2009 and has been awarded a LEED Gold rating.
Cedars represents Friends in the City’s and UAI's commitment to supporting and providing housing for the underserved population of seniors who wish to continue residing in New York City, but have struggled to find adequate and affordable housing for themselves and their families. The mixed income community is comprised of 80% low-income and 20% moderate-to-middle income seniors. Many of the low-income families are formerly homeless families referred from the Department of Homeless Services. With the restoration of Fox Hall it now serves as a community center and recreation facility for the residents, and includes a children’s playroom, teen activity area, recreation room and classroom. Its function as a gathering place recognizes its prior uses as community centers during the twentieth century. Offices for supportive services are also located in Fox Hall.
Urban Architectural Initiatives (UAI), recognizes the practice of architecture is inherently socially engaged and beneficial to its community. Establish in 1996, UAI has a history and reputation of providing the best possible design services to nonprofit organizations and the government agencies and private funders that support their work. Based on the committed relationship with their clients, the firm has successfully completed a variety of projects; affordable, supportive and market-rate residential, religious, educational, community, and commercial buildings. UAI has a great depth of experience in all facets of the field and stay informed of zoning, code and industry changes. UAI listens and responds to the specific challenges any particular site presents so that the solutions provided are unique to the project and the client. All their work is performed from a sustainable perspective.