Via Verde—The Green Way, Bronx, N.Y. 
Dattner Architects and Grimshaw Architects 
New York

Located on a brownfield site in the South Bronx, N.Y., Via Verde bested more than 30 rival proposals in a sustainable public housing design competition sponsored by the AIA New York Chapter and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “In some ways, it was a challenging site, because it’s so long and narrow,” says Dattner’s William Stein, FAIA. He and his design team responded with a long, narrow structure that folds like a paper clip. “The project is organized around a central courtyard, with green roofs stepping up from there,” Stein says.

The stepped building shell presents south-facing mounting surfaces for photovoltaic panels, which generate enough electricity to supply the common areas and outside lighting. To promote daylighting and natural ventilation and minimize air conditioning use, most of the 222 units have two exposures, and all have operable windows. An energy-efficient shell, mechanical systems, and lighting—plus rainwater collection and other sustainable features—earned the building a LEED Gold certification. “But we were also interested in social sustainability,” says Stein, who notes that the development’s 40,000 square feet of open space includes vegetable gardens, the courtyard’s playground and amphitheater, and other community gathering places.

The jury admired the “huge project with all this landscape and social space,” praising in particular the building’s many green features and “dynamic façades.” One juror remarked that “the engagement is infectious. I feel like people will grow to love this place.”

View all 2013 RADA winners.

Project Credits

Principal in charge: William Stein, FAIA, Dattner Architects, New York
General contractor: Nick Lettire, Lettire Construction, New York
Developers: Adam Weinstein, the Phipps Houses Group, New York, and Jonathan Rose, Jonathan Rose Companies, New York
Land planner: Vincent Chang, AIA, Grimshaw Architects, New York
Landscape architect: Lee Weintraub, Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture, Yonkers, N.Y.
Unit size: 795 to 1,376 square feet
Site size: 1.5 acres
Sales price: $78,894 to $192,750
Rental price: 60 percent of area median income
Units in project: 222
Construction cost $330 per square foot
Photography: David Sundberg/Esto

Product Details

Bathroom cabinets: Nutone
Bathroom fittings: Delta
Bathroom fixtures: Crane
Carpet: Masland
Ceramic tile: Casalgrande Padana
Countertops: Caeasarstone; QuartzStone
Dishwasher: GE
Kitchen cabinets: Direct Cabinets
Kitchen fittings: Delta
Kitchen fixtures: Elkay
Oven: GE
Refrigerator: GE
Solar energy system: SunPower