Urban Quotient

E111 Gardens SustaiNYC

Passive House Mixed-Use Development & Urban Design (Proposal)
Collaborators: EDI International, Paul Castrucci Architects

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UQ was invited to join the design team for this project as an urban design consultant to guide the overall site planning. The proposal called for the development of affordable housing, commercial, and community facility uses on an entire city block of East Harlem that is currently being used by community gardens. Knowing the importance of these gardens within the community, we wanted to relocate them within the development and retain as much of their character as possible. Our research focused on “Latino Urbanism” which scholar and urban planner James Rojas coined when studying how Latino immigrants had altered the urban fabric of American cities to make their new neighborhoods more reflective of their culture. Consistent with this theoretical framework, the scheme resulted in community gardens being placed within the courtyard of the new housing, adjacent to a public plaza, with the pathway through the site running along and adjacent to the garden fences. In this way, while each garden maintained its own identity and space, the lively activity and programming of the gardens could spill out into the plaza and the activities in the plaza could be extended into the gardens. This overall concept helped to drive the vibrancy and form of the architecture and complemented the massing and orientation needed to achieve Passive House design, thus creating a model for sustainable and equitable development.