Located in the primarily residential neighborhood of Mott Haven, Bronx, we designed Betances Residence to provide safe, healthy, permanent housing for at-risk seniors in this majority Hispanic community. The building was designed to respond to the culturally rich context of its neighborhood, a residential community surrounded by active commercial areas, schools, parks, and religious spaces. 152 supportive housing units and 10,600 square feet of community space and amenities were designed to Passive House standards and incorporate biophilic and active design to support resident health and well-being.
Our design restores the streetwall, creating a cohesive pedestrian experience. Clad in zinc, the façade will take on a rich patina as it ages. The circulation spine is clad in dark ironspot brick, providing additional texture and luster to the dynamic façade. Deep windows enhance the play of light and shadow and create sense of weight and permanence to the building, creating a respectful neighbor to adjacent townhomes.
Green spaces and biophilic elements were created to enhance innate, positive reactions to nature. The building is oriented toward a central garden courtyard, where residents can enjoy wellness activities and socialization in a comfortable outdoor setting, with a clear view from the street through to the planted space, created in collaboration with landscape architects Terrain-NYC, and windows along the ground floor circulation spine. This circulation pattern connects residents to nature as they move through the building and connects the building to the wider community. In the common corridor on each floor, windows at the elevator lobby provide visual connections to the garden and to the street, bringing daylight into the space and orienting residents. At the storefront, a human-scale façade and native plantings at the entryways enliven the streetscape and establish a link to the lobby and courtyard, welcoming residents and conveying a sense of openness to the neighborhood.
Universal and active design strategies enable access for people of diverse mobility needs and encourage physical activity. The entry, vertical circulation, and amenities are distributed throughout the building to encourage walking, while the courtyard allows for large group activities. Residential circulation stairs have distinct signage, outdoor views, and windowed entry doors to encourage the use of stairs for inter-floor traffic.
In a holistic picture of occupant and environmental wellness, the high-performance Passive House design minimizes resource and energy usage. On the roof, solar panels will offset a portion of the building’s energy use. Natural, recycled, minimally treated, and biomimetic materials define the interior and are intricately coupled with an efficient mechanical system. Ventilation control via energy recovery systems circulate 100% fresh, filtered outside air in and stale air out. The highly insulated metal and masonry cladding combined with triple-glazed windows tightly insulate the building for minimal heat loss.
Betances Residence is developed by Breaking Ground. The project team also includes:
Civil Design Works, Dagher Engineering, Haley Aldrich, Houghton Acoustics for Architecture, Monadnock Construction, Inc., Steven Winter Associates, Terrain-NYC Landscape Architecture, William Vitacco Associates (WVA), WP Moore, and WSP