Organization Name: URBAN ARCHITECTURAL INITIATIVES
Project Title: Marion Avenue
Project Location: Bronx, NY
On a hillside overlooking Fordham University, the 100 unit Marion Avenue Residence brought life to a vacant lot used as a dumping ground. Developed by the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, the building features expansive ground floor spaces opening to a large rear yard. Terraces and patios are landscaped into the natural rock-formed terrain overlooking a children's playground. With a color palette of dark brick, light rainscreen and deep blue accents, the façade of the building scales humanely alongside homes that line the street. At the roof a pergola-style solar array provides power to the community room, youth room and laundry room. These shared spaces are visible from the lobby and invite residents to participate in the communal life of the building. Site access was constrained by narrow streets, the 15 ft height differential to adjoining properties, and an existing 100 year old hickory tree that had to be conserved. Subgrade issues and uncooperative neighbors lengthened the construction process and forced redesigning. Funding for the residence, which primarily serves formerly homeless families, was provided by the NYS Office of Mental Health with additional funds from other state agencies.
This thoughtfully designed and detailed modern building provides 99 units of much needed supportive housing, as well as stability to the Fordham Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. The building has 24 hour security and an on-site superintendent, making it a safe anchor for Marion Avenue and nearby streets. Staffed with local residents, the building’s on-site family social work staff organizes children’s activities and after-school programs in the spacious public areas that include a playground and terraced patio in the rear yard.
The building’s residents are a mix of local community members and those receiving supportive services through NY/NY III and other similar programs assisting those in recovery for substance abuse and chronic homelessness. The tenants will all have rent-stabilized leases, allowing them to make a permanent home in the area. Fordham Heights has long been a neighborhood that has welcomed residents from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. The Marion Avenue residence will contribute to its modernization – not by transforming the neighborhood, but adding to its growth and development by infilling a long-derelict site.
Urban Architectural Initiatives RA, P.C. (UAI) is a minority owned, vibrant and diverse group of professionals united around the idea that great architecture is not only for the privileged few. Since 1996 our firm has distinguished itself by combining expertise, dedication and a responsive approach to planning, designing and building. With over 110 high-quality buildings and 4,200 apartments completed, UAI’s experience in supportive, affordable and community developments has enriched the lives of thousands of families in the city and state of New York.
Owner: Postgraduate Center for Mental Health
Sponsors: NYS Office of Mental Health, NYS Homeless Housing & Assistance Program
Landscape Arch: Liz Farrell PLLC