Housing 25 Years Ago in Yonkers
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.
-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.
-all units have their own front door facing the great outdoors
-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)
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.
-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.