Objective: Create a comprehensive proposal for an affordable housing development in Bridgeport's emerging Downtown West neighborhood
Response: This proposal is a nine story, L-shaped, concrete building that defines new frontages for State Street and West Ave. One of the main architectural and financial goals was to minimize unlettable floor area, so a maisonette unit configuration was utilized. Additional programming includes a community garden, child care facilities, a fitness center for the next door YMCA, and a space for a culinary arts and workforce development program.
601 State begins with a unit strategy that was dubbed 'community packs'. These urban building blocks are about 40’ wide, just under 60’ deep and three levels high. There is a single corridor located on the middle level that gives access to all of the nine units in each pack. This of course facilitates that minimization of unlettable floor area, but also provides an opportunity for more interesting and more desirable units. There may also be a social benefit from this strategy -- people will be able to identify with their pack from street level -- their own 'neighborhood in the sky'.
The building terraces up towards the corner. This punctuation of the intersection is a classic urban move that is appropriate for the aspirations of the neighborhood. The massing and materiality carry an implicit reading of the building’s organization strategy -- it is not overtly expressive of it, but simply hints that there is something slightly different going on in terms of unit strategy. It is a fairly big building in comparison to whats around it, so the block-y reading helps to break down the scale while maintaining an appropriate urban presence.
The unit configuration sets up a site strategy which begins with the 1 acre parcel bound by State Street, West Ave, the YMCA, and a warehouse building. In order to define these street edges, the 64 parking spaces were located on the interior of the block. Nine of the nine-unit community packs were then, through a series of iterations, arranged in a terraced organization that builds towards the corner. The packs are configured no more than two in a row in order to maintain that idea of being able to identify with your community pack from the ground level. The supporting blocks were then introduced that fill the spaces between the community packs. These blocks house the other programs like the child care and fitness canter, but also some additional apartments. Given the density of the building, we wanted to provide an abundance of decompressive outdoor space and with the massing of the building there is a variety of rooftop areas that provide perfect opportunities for this. A series of shared terraces were introduced that each offer a different character — one is specifically for the child care, some are private, and one is a dedicated area for a community garden. As it has been eluded to, the reduction in shared circulation is evidenced by the presence of just three main corridors and a single elevator core.
Completed: May 2017
Collaborators: Abby Murray (Finance + Strategy), Cat Wu (Community Programming), Kathryn Arffa (Finance + Strategy)