Larsen Shein & Ginsberg, LLP, La Casa de Felicidad

La Casa de Felicidad – Bronx, New York
Larsen Shein + Ginsberg, LLP – New York, New York
Type of Facility/Setting: Low-Income Senior Housing

Facility Contact: Harry Scanlan or Yolanda Garcia

Firm: Larsen Shein + Ginsberg, LLP, (212) 803-0300

Design Team: Magnus Magnusson, AIA, Design Principal; Petr Stand, Principal; Susan Wright, Project Architect

Illustrator: Sung Kim

Resident Capacity: 85 units (84 one-bedroom apartments and 1 two-bedroom apartment for live-in superintendent)

Space/Resident (sq. ft.): 540

Total Area (sq. ft.): .6 acres

Total Cost (excluding land): $9.8 million (construction)

Cost/Sq. Ft.: $135

Expected Completion: 2003

This is a senior housing project to be built under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 program, which provides independent living residential developments for low-income senior citizens.

Located in the South Bronx, the project is sited at the eastern edge of the Melrose Commons neighborhood, which has been transformed over the past few years by new housing construction. The Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Plan, drafted by the community for the community, and adopted by the City of New York in 1994, includes design guidelines that determined the building massing and street frontage. The project site encompasses almost the entire city block along a main city street, and the design guidelines required a four- to seven-story fatade along this main street, with four-story construction on the secondary side street.

The building is designed with community spaces on the street level and most resident apartments on the upper six floors. Street-level community spaces face the main street and a landscaped rear yard, designed for sitting, talking, reading and gardening. Raised planting beds will be provided, as there is a strong tradition of community gardening among Melrose Commons residents.

Offices, security and mechanical spaces are located on the street floor, as are a laundry room, community room with kitchen, and units for visually and hearing-impaired residents.

Handicapped-accessible units are located on each floor opposite the elevator lobby. All apartments are handicapped adaptable and meet Uniform Federal Accessibility Guidelines. Each residential floor has a small day room located at the corner of the building and opposite the elevator lobby, to encourage small, informal gatherings within easy reach of the resident units, a feature designed for aging in place. The day rooms’ functions might differ on each floor, with one designated as a lending library and another as an arts-and-crafts room. The developer will work directly with the residents to determine the appropriate social settings for each floor.

All of the unit design meets or exceed HUD’s housing guidelines and will further incorporate special features for the elderly, such as emergency call devices in each unit, grab bars at toilets and tubs, and handrails in corridors. Kitchens will receive natural light and be mechanically ventilated.

The major architectural goals of the project are to design an aesthetically attractive, energy-efficient and accessible residential building. A safe and supportive design will be built within the cost-containment guidelines and technical requirements of HUD. The building design-with brick and cast-stone fatades, recalling the traditional elegance of Bronx apartment buildings-is intended to harmonize with the existing neighborhood context and meet the design directives of the community.

The design of the project interior pays close attention to architectural and interior design details to create a warm, happy ambience and a dignified lifestyle.

Topics: Articles