THE GENERAL COLIN POWELL APARTMENT BUILDING TAKES THE PRIZE AS T H I S YEAR’S EID WINNER I N THE MULT I FAMILY RESIDENTIAL CATEGORY. General Colin Powell Apartments is not only the first new multifamily ownership building built in more than 30 years in an area of the South Bronx formerly known as Fort Apache, but it is also the first affordable LEED Platinum multifamily ownership building in New York State. In a unique development partnership between a private developer and Habitat for Humanity NYC, the building offers luxurious apartments in a building that models 43 percent better energy efficiency than ASRAE 90. 1-2004 that are affordable to families with incomes between 50-110 percent of the NYC average median income, earning it the top spot in the Multifamily Residential category of the 2011 EID Awards. General Colin Powell Apartments is a mix of studios and one- to three-bedroom apartments, most with balconies or terraces. The units are generous in size and include finishes such as wood plank flooring, ceramic- and glass-tiled bathrooms, kitchen floors and backsplashes, oversized frameless kitchen cabinets, two-panel molded doors, and designer bathroom accessories, lighting and plumbing fixtures not usually found in affordable housing. Included in the design is a 2,400-square-foot green roof along with a 1,200-square-foot terrace with water views, pergolas, seating areas and flowering vines to create a peaceful oasis in a built urban environment. A 700-square-foot community room at the roof terrace level extends the owners’ entertaining abilities. Developed on an irregularly shaped former brownfield site, the building façade steps in and out, providing a pleasing visual context to the neighborhood. New York City artist Beatrice Coron was commissioned to design the ornamental iron and lobby artwork that brings an additional vibrancy to the building. Mechanical Advances The building also incorporates many sustainable features including a 10 kW micro CHP system to produce electricity for the building while providing 100 percent of the building’s domestic hot water supply. The sealed combustion condensing boilers, coupled with computer controls and indoor/outdoor temperature sensors, modulate the boiler firing down to 25 percent of its rating based on demand. All system motors are either variable frequency drive or NEMA premium efficiency, and through the use of a hydraulic separator, two large pumps typically found in large hydronic systems were eliminated. Instead of a conventional building exhaust design, each apartment is ventilated individually through rigorous air sealing, a continuous background exhaust fan, constant air regulators and trickle vents in each window opening to guaranty circulation. This design also minimizes or eliminates the problems of noise, odors, fire and thermal stack effect found in standard vertical duct building designs. Water conservation measures include dualflush toilets, very low-flow showerheads and aerators manufactured to the building’s actual water pressure, and a planted green roof to help minimize stormwater runoff. Many products and materials in the building were produced locally, including the precast concrete plank, concrete block, drywall, paint and kitchen cabinets to name a few. Similarly, many of the materials and products were low-VOC, such as paints, sealants, adhesives, kitchen and bath cabinetry, carpeting, vinyl wallcovering, wood flooring, VCT flooring, insulation and acoustical tile. Wherever possible, recycled content materials were specified for use throughout including drywall, recycled concrete aggregate, wood and VCT flooring, structural- and light-guage steel framing, asphalt millings and carpet tiles, as examples. As an affordable housing development that received government assistance to make it a reality, Blue Sea is bound to affordability requirements that are often established years before the project breaks ground, regardless of site or market conditions. The partnership with Habitat for Humanity NYC, where families and volunteers preformed much of the air sealing, insulation and drywall, helped to provide such highly performing, healthy, luxurious new homes to first-time buyers. Information provided by Blue Sea Development Company LLC. For more information on ED+C’s annual Excellence in Design Awards contest, visit eid.EDCmag.com.
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