2022

MCHAP

The Jennings

Alexander Gorlin Architects

The Bronx, United States

November 2019

PRIMARY AUTHOR

Alexander Gorlin

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

CLIENT

New Destiny Housing Corporation

PHOTOGRAPHER

Eric Petschek

OBJECTIVE

Domestic violence is the leading generator of family homelessness in New York City. Low-income domestic violence survivors often face the choice of becoming homeless or remaining in a potentially dangerous situation. Some stay temporarily with family and friends or end up in the general homeless system. Many return to the abuser. Even if they do secure permanent housing, their housing stability can be impacted by the trauma they have experienced from both homelessness and domestic violence.

The Jennings’ on-site services help survivors address issues such as safety planning, job training, parenting, and budgeting that help them remain stable, unified, and violence-free over time. The design was firstly informed by a thorough understanding of the residents’ needs cultivated through interviews with the client as well as residents and case managers of similar facilities. The building site and typology were analyzed through an historical and contextual standpoint and refined in conjunction with the client.

High quality, affordable housing is critical for a healthy community. It can bring stability and new opportunity to the people who call it home and to the community at large. Housing can also be a sanctuary that provides people with a safe environment where they can build stability and live with dignity. With 42 affordable units, and 23 units for previously homeless survivors of domestic violence, The Jennings fills this need and will be a resource of affordable housing for the community for years to come.

CONTEXT

The Jennings establishes a striking architectural statement on the intersection of Charlotte Street, Jennings Street, and Minford Place in the South Bronx, an area that was decimated by fires in the 1970’s. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter made an impromptu visit to the site, then still a scene of urban blight, after speaking at the United Nations.

In this exact site, The Jennings rebuilds the street wall of Charlotte Street and repairs the urban fabric at the intersection. We are proud to be part of the meaningful renewal of this formerly devastated neighborhood.

PERFORMANCE

The project comprises a slender, nine-story residential building with 42 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units clad in textured brick and punctuated with large windows. Metal panels on the windows are pastel colored and inspired by Andy Warhol’s Flowers screenprints. The building is divided into two masses. The more slender of the two volumes sits at the intersection of two grids formed by Charlotte Street and Jennings Street, an important neighborhood view corridor. The back slab connects with the second angle of the two grids joining it with the immediate urban context. The bricks on the façade of the building are rotated to give the feeling of an armored skin, with colorful metal panels on the large windows in the residences above.

The Jennings features active and passive recreation areas including landscaping at the front and an enclosed, lower-level rear garden and play area for residents. Active design principles and strategies have been incorporated through the placement and design of the main stair, visible immediately upon entry of the building.

On the ground floor are the lobby, laundry, stroller storage, mailboxes, security and four dwelling units. The cellar level contains service spaces, a tenant meeting and multi-purpose room with a walk-out garden, administrative and/or social services offices, bicycle room, computer room and library, trash compactor, storage, superintendent’s office and maintenance shop. The building is designed under Enterprise Green Standards and utilizes energy efficient systems and sustainable materials.