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Housing 25 Years Ago in Yonkers

October 8, 2014

Cephas Ext10

An abandoned 19th century parochial school building burned to the ground in 1975 -since that time the 1/4 acre site lay fallow, becoming a trash dump and a short cut route between a busy avenue and a one-way residential street. This void in the urban fabric is now filled with a l5-unit housing project to provide permanent housing for the homeless. The project’s sponsoring church bordered one side of the site, and across the one-way street stood a few proud row houses that served as an aesthetic spring-board for the new project’s massing and detailing.

CEPHAS-Existing-001-copyCephas Ext4a

-This project endeavors to break the rules of high density design:

-no common corridors/elevators/lobby – preempting vandalism/terrorism for low income residents – there is one common fire stair inaccessible to non-residents and not part of the primary access path for any unit.Cephas Ext8

-all units have their own front door facing the great outdoors

-4 units are handicapped adaptable/accessible without lifts or elevatorsCephas Ext2

-although up to 6 stories high, no resident walks up or down more than 2 flights of stairs to get to their front door.

-no shared/common walls – most units are thru-floor “flats” – with maximum natural light and ventilation (huge double-hung windows); even though there are up to 4 units per level, the project uses 3 distinct “buildings” to allow for maximum unit separation.

-all detailing and massing was generated the free-standing single family houses across Stanley Avenue, a small one-way street, then the “backside” elevation grows as the site slopes down, thus aggrandizing the project mass that faces the major thoroughfare, Riverside Avenue.

-the three “buildings” share common mechanical systems, egress paths and retaining walls

-the 15 units are larger than the “norm” (mostly 3 bedrooms, one 4)

Cephas PR Dwg4ps

Beyond the programmatic aspects the site’s peculiarities, government regulatory review and budgetary limitation helped to create a “tight” situation.

-a 1/4 acre site

-the terrain drops 20 feet over the 45 feet of buildable site depth

-the site is in a Fire District, hence a 2 hour rated skin and frame and sprinklered central fire stair.Cephas Ext1

-a $110 per square foot price for steel and concrete construction, all in, total budget $1.7 million

-built in 1989 after three years of budgeting, variance obtaining, permit work, plus federal, state, local and bank review.

Cephas Ext6

7 Comments leave one →
  1. jchelgeson permalink
    January 13, 2015 12:05 pm


    This housing brings me hope, that innovative, practical and beautiful urban design is being employed here in the US. The clients and the designers (you?) show respect for people, cities, history. Fantastic.

  2. January 13, 2015 3:39 pm

    it twas moi: a lifetime ago: and has been full in service since…

  3. January 14, 2015 6:28 am

    This development seems to be similar in some ways to the so-called Phase One housing on the south side of the Quinnipiac River, just east of I-91 in New Haven. Although there are a couple of buildings built in the common-corridor style, many units appear to be individual houses with common walls, painted in attractive pastel colors and with lots of variety in shapes and design.

  4. December 9, 2019 12:44 am

    The project has cruel proportions and a very bad structure

    • December 9, 2019 9:14 am

      Fully occupied, fully functional for 30 years: your judgments do not hold true for the users,,,or the awards it has won.


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