The Hegeman, designed by Cook + Fox Architects, is a residential community in Brownsville, Brooklyn that provides housing for low-income and formerly homeless individuals. Developed by Common Ground Community – an innovative non-profit whose mission is to end homelessness – the Hegeman Residence will also provide a range of on-site social services in a model known as supportive housing. For a little bit of context, Brownsville has the highest concentration of NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) developments in New York City. A wave of arson in the 1970s destroyed most of the residential structures; Brownsville is just one of the many neighborhoods that were affected. The urban renewal that followed rebuilt many homes and designated them as low-income housing. The community has had many problems since associated with poverty, including crime and drug addiction, as well as low test scores and high truancy rates in the education system. More after the break.
The Hegeman Residence is on the site of a former parking lot, filling the gap between the street wall and existing residences. It adds residential real estate and street life to the context and respects the local architecture. The modest six-story building is restrained in its planning, height and massing. The architects used textural articulations in the facade to add visual life to the building. The added depth to the brick facade is “thoughtful yet economical” and adds an elegance to the building. Large windows frame the single entrance to the building along Hegeman Avenue. Visual connections between the street and interior courtyard create a welcoming entrance that is emphasized by the plants and green space within the building.
The Hegeman Residence is part of Common Ground’s Green Campaign, emphasizing healthy living through health and indoor air quality, restorative and biophilic design, and best practices to save tenants money on energy bills. The tenants are provided with views of green spaces and access to natural daylight, even in below-grade office spaces. An inner courtyard provides an opportunity for the development of urban farms and gives a protected space for residents of all ages to enjoy the landscape.
The building is designed with efficient energy performance in mind: entry-activated control systems and individual room-metering capabilities give control over energy usage. Infrastructure has been placed for a future co-generation system, as well. Approximately 3,400 square feet of greenery on the roof cool the building and handles storm-water run off from the site. Solar panels are also located on the roof for exterior lighting requirements. Individual units are finished with durable, non-toxic materials, designed to save energy and water. These measures may earn the building an anticipated LEED Silver certification. Architects: Cook + Fox Architects Location: Brooklyn, NY Client: Common Ground Comunities Completion: 2012 Size: 64,469 SF