Working under the auspices of Habitat for Humanity, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) designed a full block of thirteen adjacent row houses for a sloped site across from a public park in the Bronx.  The incorporation of randomly patterned brickwork imparts a sense of liveliness to the facades, while expanded stoops with seating, front yards, and window boxes are deliberate prompts to encourage owners to interact with their neighbors and community. Aggregating window openings create one large façade element that respond to the scale of neighboring apartment owners.

Within a very tight budget, the affordable Energy Star® rated row houses were designed to justify the conscientious use of every resource.  Economies were achieved by sizing rooms to eliminate construction waste, and coursing out facades to limit the need to cut bricks. Bright interiors were achieved by inserting sky lights at the top of interior stairways, and creating a light well to illuminate the ground floor. The houses, constructed using sustainable materials and technologies, were erected with “sweat equity” contributed by volunteers, including the eventual homeowners.  Members of MBB’s own staff constructed and installed yard-separating plantings made with materials donated by the project’s contractors. The project ended with a poignant Habitat for Humanity ceremony, in which ownership of the new homes was handed over to the families who helped to build them.

Awards
2006 AIA NY State Merit Award
2005 AIA NYC Housing Design Award
2006 Builder's Choice Design and Planning Grand Award

Photography: ©Kevin Chu/KCJP