louise braverman architect, new york city

with its bold colors, connection to the outdoors, and clever product specs, Chelsea Court is unlike most affordable housing projects. Indeed, said the judges, “it challenges the expectation of what that level of housing can be.”

The existing building had several niches in its deep footprint and an unusual configuration of three parts: four floors in the front, one in the middle, and three in the rear. Architect Louise Braverman gutted the entire structure, upgrading the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems. Large storefront windows with etched colored glass bring in light and create a friendly connection to the street, while the idiosyncrasy of the layout allowed her to create inviting gathering spaces to support the small dwelling units.

Low-income individuals appreciate good design and architectural detail as much as everyone else, so Braverman looked for affordable objects that also provide architectural value. She used such items as colored ceramic-faced blocks, colored tiles, and durable designer furniture. The judges called the results “very sophisticated ... an impressive use of space and color ... a beautiful composition.”

principal in charge: Louise Braverman, Louise Braverman Architect
project architects: Christopher Huffman, Gregory Ginter, Jason Roseler, Louise Braverman Architect
Jane Velez, Palladia, New York City
general contractor: John Pilla, P & P Contracting Corp., New York City
project size: 200 to 300 square feet per unit
site size: 0.06 acre
construction cost: $163 per square foot
rental price: $0
units in project: 18
photographer: Scott Frances, except where noted