Jessica Dailey

Affordable Housing in The Bronx Goes Green at Via Verde by Grimshaw Architects

by , 04/13/11
filed under: Architecture,The Bronx

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The Bronx may have a bad rap for being the least healthiest county in New York State, but the NYC borough is also home to a thriving green industry. Not only are sustainable businesses popping up all over the place, but innovative green buildings are becoming more common, too. Grimshaw Architects is currently building Via Verde, an 18-story mixed-income development that is taking solar power innovation to the next level. The building will be outfitted with 300 solar panels placed in different vertical spaces on the structure, freeing up the rooftop for gorgeous green gardens.

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The 300,000 square foot building is located on a remediated brownfield site at Brook Avenue and East 156th Street in the South Bronx. The plan for the building came out of a 2004 design competition hosted by AIA New York. The building has 202 units, 151 of which are reserved for low-income residents. The building’s step-like design, with levels rising above one another, creates more vertical space for solar panels. The panels will provide 15 to 20 percent of the energy needed to run the building’s elevators, water pumps, and air conditioning in common areas. The installation uses off-the-shelf components, which will keep costs down, and they will be mounted on six vertical faces of the $100 million building’s facade. Horizontal arrays will be placed on the fifth and seventh floor roofs to create shaded canopies for the gardens, and two more will be place on the building’s highest tower. Energy from the 66 kilowatt system will flow into the grid when the building doesn’t need it.

Bright Power provided energy consultation on the design of Via Verde and lead architect Robert Garneau worked with Dattner Architects to maximize efficiency. The solar power system provides 2.5 percent of the buildings overall power usage, which may not seem like a lot, but it was enough to qualify the structure for LEED Gold certification. Compared to traditionally built housing complexes, it will consume one-third less energy. Other green amenities include a rainwater cachement system, low-flow water fixtures, and a design that maximizes daylight and natural breezes. The rooftop gardens on every level will help maintain the building’s internal temperature while also provide green space and fresh produce for residents.

While the design of Via Verde is exciting in itself, what’s even more thrilling is that it’s the third green affordable or supportive housing complex that we’ve reported on in recent weeks. The Schermerhorn House, built by Ennead Architects, recently won an AIA Housing Award, and The Lee by Kiss+Cathcart just officially opened its green doors. We love that architects and developers are designing low income housing with the same innovative and sustainable methods used in high profile skyscrapers. Via Verde is expected to open early next year.

+ Grimshaw Architects

Via Txchnologist

Images © Grimshaw Architects

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8 Comments

  1. lcat61 May 18, 2013 at 7:24 am

    My name is Linda Catlett, and I am exceedlingly delightet that Via Verde has decided to invest not only a beautiful property, but bringing “Green” into our neighborhood.

  2. daystar July 31, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I was born & raised in the bronx its a grat place to live and I am finally glad to see that the city reconize the bronx in its efforts to rebuild it. I am interested in an application for this building.

  3. ladylove June 26, 2012 at 11:59 am

    this building is a dream come true in the bronx wishing they call me already need to move very soon. i have my package of section8 and its about to end. if only they had a number to call. all i do is pray.thank u

  4. marivas June 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    It is a beautiful place to live in, am interesting in how to get an application.
    thank you

  5. estelaq February 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I was raised in that part of the bronx Iam very happy that the bronx is getting beautiful Iam so happy that Iam thinking of getting a place in that project that is being built it looks beautiful,thanks to those that are saving the bronx,can you send me information about how to start the process.Thank you

  6. Elizabeth Bonzo-Savage October 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    This is encouraging. Hope other cities will follow your example.

  7. louienavarro123 September 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Hi, my louie navarro and i will like to fill out an application.

  8. KirstenSibilia April 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you for great coverage on this important project. Dattner Architects worked with Grimshaw not only on the energy efficiently, but also collaboratively on the design from the original competition entry through to the current construction administration. It is a project we are all proud to be working on.