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Brooklyn's colorful new affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces

Affordable Housing

Brooklyn's colorful new affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces

The Van Sinderen Plaza project consists of a newly constructed pair of seven-story buildings totaling 193,665 sf, including 130 affordable units.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | May 14, 2024
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+

A new affordable housing development located in the fastest growing section of Brooklyn, N.Y., where over half the population lives below the poverty line, transformed a long vacant lot into a community asset.

The Van Sinderen Plaza project consists of a newly constructed pair of seven-story buildings totaling 193,665 sf, including 130 affordable units.

The project is located across the street from a new elevated “L” train stop and bus station. The buildings are set back from the street, creating a complementary pair of triangular plazas and public outdoor space making the project a gateway for the community. The plaza has become home to pop-up markets and other impromptu community events.

The pedestrian-friendly scale is sympathetic to low-lying neighboring homes. The ground floor retail spaces accommodate a large market, a café, a workspace, a deli, and a community daycare facility.

The building’s exterior features bright colors setting it apart from most affordable housing developments. The panelized façade design uses color in a gradation pattern to provide visual texture to the buildings. Bright colors are carried through to the connecting daycare amenity.

Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+

Above the ground floor, the building massing cantilevers over the sidewalk to gain a larger building footprint for apartment levels. This sculptural move provided the added benefit of breaking down the scale of the building while providing visual interest to the repetitive nature of the housing program.

Bound by a narrow 26-foot-wide street along the elevated train, there was only a five-foot sidewalk originally. Both sites were also shallower than typical city sites at 90 feet. To create a better and safer pedestrian experience, the design set back the ground floor, expanding valuable sidewalk space from 5 feet to 15 feet.

Due to proximity to the train, acoustic performance was critical. Façade performance had to meet strict Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC) criteria established in the project’s Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS), which included specific sound attenuation products and assemblies for windows, wall, and Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTACs).

The project was developed under New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development Extremely Low and Low Income Affordability Program (“ELLA”) with rental bands in the 27% to 57% AMI range.

Developer: MacQuesten Development
Design Architect: GLUCK+
Architect of Record: GLUCK+
MEP Engineer: Stantec (formerly E&Z)
Structural Engineer: SILMAN
General Contractor/Construction Manager: MacQuesten Construction Management

Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Brooklyn's colorful Van Sinderen Plaza affordable housing project includes retail, public spaces. Photo courtesy GLUCK+
Photo courtesy GLUCK+

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