Dekalb Commons

Organization Name: St. Nicks, Bed-Stuy Restoration Corp, MAP

Project Title: Dekalb Commons

Project Location: Brooklyn, NY

Project Description:
The 85-unit, Dekalb Commons, sets twin, mid-rise buildings across from one another on Dekalb Avenue in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP) for nonprofit developers St. Nicks Alliance and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the affordable family housing will achieve Passive House certification. The project has received both a Buildings of Excellence Award and a Blue Ribbon for Design Excellence Award from NYSERDA. With similar massing but inverted color palettes, the buildings are in dialogue, creating a mid-block focal point and visual interest along the streetscape. Modest setbacks allow for landscaping at each entrance and a planted buffer in front of the first-floor apartments in each building. Glazed elevator lobbies face Dekalb, providing views and adding light and eyes on the street. Residents will enjoy landscaped rear yards (visible through the building from the street) and extensive green roofs with deep soil for taller plants. Both buildings have a range of apartment sizes (studios to 3-bedrooms) carefully designed for furnish-ability, with large windows for natural light.

Community Impact:
In addition to adding much needed affordable family housing to a thriving and desirable neighborhood, Dekalb Commons promises important industry lessons. The buildings will incorporate the most replicable, attractive, and effective strategies for near net-zero operational energy, on-site energy generation, embodied carbon reduction across material sectors, decarbonization and full electrification, actionable management tools, healthy living and resiliency.

Because the buildings are virtually identical, there will also be a unique opportunity for data collection and comparison. The project team has committed to making that information available for research purposes. This includes the equipment manufacturers who can use real world data to improve product offerings, and funding agencies seeking evidence of the realized operational savings of Passive House projects. This data collection and sharing will help others produce the next generation of truly sustainable communities.

Organization Description:
St. Nicks Alliance seeks to transform lives of low- and moderate-income people through employment, education, housing, and health care. We do this by delivering impactful services with measurable outcomes to children, adults, and the elderly. As a civic anchor we carry out this mission within the context of building a sustainable community for all people through the arts, environmental advocacy, and urban planning.

Team Members:

MAP; St. Nick’s Alliance-Owner; Bed-Stuy Restoration Corp.-Co Dev; Dagher Engineering-MEP; Bright Power-Sustainability; terrain-nyc landscape architecture-Landscape Architect

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