Via Verde, Grimshaw Architects and Dattner Architects‘ sustainable housing development for the South Bronx, is officially open. At the ribbon cutting ceremony in front of 700 Brook Avenue and East 156th Street, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, along with the leaders of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, largely praised the team’s commitment to revitalize a once blighted South Bronx neighborhood. ”No one would have predicted that today there would one day be one of the most innovative, exciting, environmentally sustainable affordable housing developments in the nation – if not the world. The change that has swept through the South Bronx in the last decade challenges the very notions of what is and isn’t possible in urban revival. And investment in high-quality affordable housing – made possible by partnerships like the one behind Via Verde – has been the catalyst,” explained the Mayor. Located on a formerly contaminated industrial site, the eco-friendly housing development will provide hundreds with a healthy haven to enjoy fresh air and sunlight, natural food production, and outdoor play.
More about Via Verde’s opening after the break.
The subsidized complex developed as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan with the intention to finance over 160,000 units of affordable housing by the close of Fiscal Year 2014. After winning a competition organized by the Commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Jonathan Rose and Phipps Houses Group teamed with Grimshaw Architects and Dattner Architects to bring New York City its first juried design competition proposal for affordable and sustainable housing.
“Via Verde is an intensively green, energy-efficient building, but it’s also a sustainable community that focuses on the quality of life and health of the families who will live here,” said Jonathan F.P. Rose, President of Jonathan Rose Companies. “To create vibrant, dense cities, we need models that integrate housing and health, food and family, security and sociability, reflection and restoration as integrated systems. Via Verde demonstrates that such integration is possible.”
As we reported earlier, Via Verde includes a 20-story tower at the north end of the site, six-to-12 story mid-rise buildings in the middle, and three-to-four story townhouses to the south that wrap a series of courtyards. To date, all 151 low-income units are fully leased; and, 56 of the 71 co-op units have been sold. All of the units in Via Verde were offered to the public via a lottery: for the 151 rental apartments there were 7,000 applications.
The project was constructed using 20%recycled materials with more than 20% of total building materials having been manufactured locally, minimizing transportation energy and supporting the local economy. In addition, more than 80% of the construction and demolition waste was recycled.
“Via Verde’s mandate for healthy living in affordable housing inspires not only a place to live, but a way to think…We sincerely hope the efforts put forward will enrich the lives of its residents, the community, and the future of affordable housing,” said Virginia Little LEED AP, Architect, Grimshaw.
Via Verde is not about layering a project with sustainable systems and approaches. It is about providing a carefully designed and strategically constructed backdrop that will allow for a healthy lifestyle for all of its residents. Such an act of architects, developers and City officials truly caring about the impacts of design and the environment will become an example for future housing developments around the City and across the country.