At RAMSA, we've always believed that architecture is an act of optimism. Nowhere is that optimism more evident--or more necessary--than in our work with Breaking Ground, pioneering developers committed to providing supportive and affordable housing. Our second project with the organization, Edwin's Place, is a cost-effective and surprisingly generous building that provides safe and comfortable homes for low-income and formerly homeless individuals and families.
Located on a formerly vacant corner lot in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, the eight-story building steps back to accommodate the curve of an adjacent elevated subway line. Its robust yet economical structural system of precast hollow-core floor planks and reinforced concrete block walls muffles noise from the tracks while reducing the building's heating and cooling loads. The resource-efficient design, which also features photovoltaic panels, green roofs, and triple-glazed windows, meets Enterprise Green Standards and embodies Breaking Ground's dedication to sustainable and affordable development.
We designed Edwin's Place to bridge the residential context of Howard Avenue and the commercial corridor of Livonia Avenue. Its warm, beige brick cladding picks up the rhythm of older apartments nearby, and its metal bays convey a residential character. The building turns the corner with a modern awning and glass curtain wall marking its main entry. Along Livonia Avenue, extensive outdoor lighting creates a safer street, and large glass storefronts promote new community programming on the ground floor. These programs make supportive housing one of the most effective models for ending homelessness and uplifting communities.
The building's 126 new homes range from 330-square-foot studios to 1,100-square-foot, three-bedroom units – all designed to the standards of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Reflecting our expertise in residential and hospitality design, the rooms are beautiful, comfortable, and efficiently planned to maximize available space. The sunken private courtyard provides an outdoor amenity and brings daylight into the building's garden-level spaces, which include offices for social services staff, a fitness center, computer lab, and other resources.
We're grateful that Breaking Ground entrusted us with this vital project, and optimistic that Edwin's Place will transform lives to make a difference in the Brownsville community and beyond.