Organization Name: RKLA Studio Landscape Architecture
Project Title: Serviam Gardens
Project Location: Bronx, NY
Working with Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation, Enterprise Community Partners, and OCV Architects, RKLA developed a 19,000 sqft garden for residents of Serviam Gardens, an affordable senior housing complex in the Bronx. Built on the campus of Mt. St. Ursula, an all-girls Catholic high school, the grounds of Serviam Gardens serve as an intergenerational garden for the building’s 240 senior residents and neighboring high school students. A series of outdoor spaces feature sustainable water practices, handicap accessibility, community gathering areas, and an urban farm. In addition, the residents enjoy a 7,500 sqft green roof garden. All of the garden’s outdoor spaces feature sustainable design practices, including the use of permeable pavers, permeable stone dust surfaces, ample plant beds and a rain garden – all to facilitate water infiltration. A plant palette of mostly native and native adaptive plants was selected to minimize need for water and maintenance resources.
Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation worked with the community to preserve the existing convent on site, choosing to keep the existing building, restore its historic features, and renovate the interior to adapt it to the modern needs of the residents. It used the surrounding property to develop additional housing towers and amenity spaces. The property brought 243 units of affordable, independent, senior living to the Bronx.
The entry experience was laid out to present a planted face to the site’s larger community in the Bronx. The landscaped garden and roof amenities have helped provide a sense of community and have addressed both mental and physical well-being among all residents. The community garden has been extremely popular with residents; plots have been subdivided to allow more residents to garden and a waitlist has been established for future use.
Together with project collaborators, RKLA remains engaged with the project, monitoring site and plant conditions and working with FBHC on implementing a maintenance plan. In addition to facility management, FBHC also provides social services to residents and coordinates events and activities which make use of the interior and exterior spaces.
RKLA Studio provides landscape architectural services on a range of projects that include public, institutional, commercial, and private landscapes. The firm is a certified Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) in both New York City and State. The firm values design solutions that both respect and enhance the social, architectural, historical, and natural conditions of the site. Aware of the role landscape architecture serves within the community and the larger environment, RKLA Studio’s work emphasizes sustainability and maintainable designs.
Owner: Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation
Partner Org.: Enterprise Community Partners
Architect: OCV Architects
GC: Galaxy General Contracting
Landscape: KC Landscaping
Irrigation: RR Irrigation