Gallery: New Bronx Music Heritage Center Combines Affordable Housing wi...

In an effort to provide affordable housing and a performance venue for elderly musicians, The Bronx Music Heritage Center is a brand new 355,000 square foot, development center that offers a combination of mixed income housing, a small arts public high school, a performance venue, and a rooftop urban farm. The goal is to fuel what WHEDco and the Blue Sea Development Company call a "creative class" to drive economic growth in the South Bronx area. Designed by Roger Marvel Architects, the building will have nearly 300 affordable apartments, and it will also seek LEED certification. Construction will begin in 2013.

The project began as a way to celebrate the musical heritage of the Bronx, in light of the closing of historic performance venues in the South Bronx area. Given the lack of  a performance space for elderly musicians and need for affordable housing for many of these veteran performers, the new project was conceived as a way to address the many social concerns affecting the Bronx.

The new building is strongly based on a philosophy grounded in advancing the arts, while also promoting environmental sustainability and development in an urban environment. Through artistic and environmental efforts, the project aims to restore the rich history and culture of the surrounding neighborhood. Along with a hydroponic green house, the development will also have open green space for recreation, and a public health and fitness community center.

Designed by Roger Marvel Architects, the building includes 293 affordable rental apartments, with about 75% of the units containing two bedrooms. The entire building will include sustainable desire features, and will be applying for LEED certification once completed. Taking the rooftop gardens and greenhouse into consideration, the design will also use passive solar design features.

Using art to fuel economic and community development is not only ideal for the overall restoration of the heritage of a neighborhood, but also an essential social tool that should be used in all neighborhoods throughout NYC. The fact that a few developers are starting to recognize this is refreshing, especially considering the fact that unlike other developers, there is a mindful approach to include mixed housing units for families that might need it. This is definitely a great model that should always be consider.

+ Rogers Marvel Architects + WHEDco

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