Part of the city’s revamped Inclusionary Housing Program, this 47-unit development in Williamsburg integrates 100% affordable and supportive housing in one building. Eight units are reserved for independent adults living with developmental disabilities, and a ground-floor office provides onsite support service for these residents.
Frost Street Apartments is also highly sustainable, requiring 15% less energy than the baseline. To help achieve energy efficiency and building performance targets, the design team chose an economical and efficient structure composed of precast concrete planks on ICF (Insulated Concrete Formwork) bearing walls, and a brick façade enclosure. This substantial exterior envelope, along with high-performance windows, also serves to block and absorb noise from the nearby Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Inside, these windows maximize natural daylighting and provide ample ventilation, contributing to resident comfort.
Together, the walls and windows provide a high-performing thermal and moisture barrier. Blower door tests confirm the building is 50% tighter than targets, proven performance that is substantially better than other buildings done to the same energy code.
“ C+GA’s mission as an architecture firm is evident in projects like Frost Street, which proves quality, sustainable design can be accessible to all. The 100% affordable housing development supports low-income and developmentally challenged NYC residents in a rapidly changing neighborhood, while meeting strict NYSERDA and NYSHCR Green Design criteria.” - Matt Melody, Senior Associate, C+GA
Located in a high water table area (Zone X of FEMA flood maps), the building also incorporates substantial storm resiliency measures and eliminated the basement, placing all utilities at the ground floor and roof to help ensure resident safety. At 45,000 square feet, the building’s size was an anomaly among the mostly two-and three-story row houses of the surrounding neighborhood. To help break down the mass and blend with existing context, C+GA incorporated mini-setbacks and material differentiation in the street façade. Two types of brick—one dark gray with a rough clay finish, the other a light blue/gray color with a smooth finish—are interrupted by courses of linear cast stone, This juxtaposition further reduces the scale of the building and offers a variety of texture and reflectivity. For instance, at mid-day, the sun creates dark shadows under the cast stone in the dark brick while bouncing brightly off the glazed brick. Additionally, the rhythm of the bright red window frames causes a variety of shadow depths to sweep across the façade all day long.
A partial setback from the street improves the pedestrian experience, accommodating planters and a mature street tree directly in front of the building. (This tree itself offered a rather unique challenge, as the contractor had to use a crane to maneuver over 100 concrete planks, each 30 feet long, over and around the tree without damaging it!) In addition to the housing units, Frost Street Apartments offers residents over 2,000 square feet of common amenity spaces, including an elegant lobby, a recreation room, and a bike room. A landscaped rear yard features adapted or native species plantings and a children’s play space.
Completed in 2015, within a tight, 18-month construction schedule, the project has served as an outstanding model for others to follow. In 2017, the project was recognized internationally as one of the most innovative MultiFamily projects in North America by the ICF Builder Awards. A year later, it was one of only seven featured case studies in “Designing New York: Quality Affordable Housing,” a publication issued by the Mayor’s Office, in collaboration with the NYC Public Design Commission (NYC Design), the American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY) Housing Committee, and The Fine Arts Federation of New York.
Sustainable Design Features
• Continuous thermal envelope and air sealing
• Micro co-generation combined heat/power system
• High-efficiency boilers
• Low-flow water fixtures
• Energy Star or equivalent LED light fixtures and appliances
• Unitized ventilation
• High-performance windows
• Trickle vents in the windows for supply of fresh air
• Located within a ¼ mile proximity to subway
Material Used :
1. Fox Blocks - Insulated Concrete Forms thermal and structural envelope
2. Larry E. Knight Inc. – Precast & Prestressed concrete flooring system
3. Endicott Clay Products – Facade Brick – Manganese Ironspot Artisan and Smooth
4. Glen Gery – Facade Glazed Brick- G-07-5216
5. Wausau – Aluminum Windows
6. Kawneer – Storefront Glazing System
7. Firestone – Roofing – APP System
8. Arriscraft – Calcium Silicate Accent Brick
9. Plyboo – Lobby Wall Panels
10. Tao Ci – Floor Tile – Tranquility collection