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Development team picked for largest Passive House project in North America

The 24-story curved building would be 70% more efficient than comparable housing in New York City.

May 16, 2016 |

A 24-story building with 241 affordable housing units will include a charter school, medical center, cultural spaces, and a supermarket. Image: Dattner Architects

A 24-story, 300,000-sf building that is being dubbed the largest residential Passive House project in North America will rise on the former site of a public school in the Mott Haven section of The Bronx, New York.

The mixed-use, mixed-income development calls for 241 housing units for low- and moderate-income families. The first three floors of the building will include a 44,480-sf charter school, a medical facility, cultural and community space that includes a 1,350-sf social service facility, and an 11,000-sf supermarket.

The project will also rehab and reopen the nearby Garrison Playground.

The development team that the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development has selected for this project is a joint venture comprised of the real estate developer Trinity Financial, the Bronx-based nonprofit development agency MBD Community Housing Corporation, and Dattner Architects, a New York-based architectural firm that has designed more than 3,500 units for the city over the past five years.

The project is programmed to achieve Passive House certification, and is expected to use 70% less energy than a conventional housing project, and surpass Enterprise Green Communities guidelines. This will be achieved through high-efficiency building systems with an airtight envelope, energy recovery ventilation, and other features that reduce heat loss. Solar shading and water saving features, individual energy controls and energy efficient appliances will also help reduce this building’s energy consumption.

“Passive House is about energy consumption, and is the next bar we should all be targeting,” says John Woelfling, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, a Principal with Dattner Architects, which has a long history with sustainably designed projects.

Tenants will have access to a 23rd-floor landscaped roof terrace and green roof. Woelfling adds that the development team is also considering “resilient power” solutions such as solar arrays or cogeneration. (He notes, too, that Dattner has been designing into its buildings daylighting in stairwells so, in the event of a power outage, residents using the stairs still have some visibility.)

The building, which is scheduled for completion by 2020, would require a zoning change, which would then activate a new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing law that makes 25% of the building’s units permanently affordable, according to Curbed NYC.

[Editor's note: John Woelfling's comments were added to this article after its initial posting.]

The building, located in the Mott Haven section of The Bronx, N.Y., is designed to be 70% more energy efficient that other housing projects in the city. Image: Dattner Architects



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