ABC No Rio has been a Lower East Side institution since 1980, fostering alternative gallery space, art studios, punk music shows and food pantries with Food Not Bombs. Thanks to funding from the City and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, combined with private funds, the non-profit collective is getting a new, green home. The green space will be built by ABC No Rio’s neighbor, Paul Castrucci Architects, and it will boast a rooftop solar array, a lush planted facade, and seek LEED certification.
ABC No Rio’s façade is currently emblazoned with painted murals, and an iron art piece that also serves as security. Castrucci’s vision for the façade strips away the grittiness, and injects some nature into the neighborhood. Located on a semi-drab block of Rivington Street, populated by restaurants and cafes, the new façade will feature lush greenery. Instead of an expensive living wall system, the plants will pour over the mesh façade from a series of built-in planters, creating pockets of plants, all watered by hand. New roof gardens will grow ivy and edible plants that will spill out over the front of the building.
The whole building will be built to Passive House standards. The roof will be painted white, with a garden extending the entire length. The front of the roof will support large photovoltaic panels that will provide 15 percent of the building’s power during peak-use and 50 percent during off-peak time. Additional roof decks will be built and planted on the back of the building. The new building will also double ABC No Rio’s gallery and performance space, as well as add a food pantry to support Food Not Bombs.
The new ABC No Rio will greater reflect its activist roots, as well as making it 75 percent more efficient than the building code requires, and 90 percent more energy efficient than most Lower East Side buildings. Castrucci, a neighborhood resident and long time supporter of ABC No Rio, will begin construction in spring of next year.