Robert A.M. Stern’s affordable housing building Edwin’s Place opens in Brownsville

July 27, 2021

All photos of Edwin’s Place © Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

An affordable housing development designed by an architecture firm known for its pricey condo towers officially opened in Brooklyn this week. Located on the corner of Livonia Avenue and Grafton Street in Brownsville, Edwin’s Place was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA), the team behind renowned buildings like 220 Central Park South, 15 Central Park West, and 70 Vestry Street, all of which have apartments that cost millions of dollars. At Edwin’s Place, there are 125 units of affordable and supportive housing set aside for formerly homeless families and low-income New Yorkers.

Built on a vacant lot, Edwin’s Place rises eight stories, features a beige brick facade, and is set back from the street to accommodate the adjacent elevated subway line. According to the architects, the precast hollow-core floor planks and reinforced concrete block walls block noise from the train tracks. With efficiency in mind, the L-shaped building also features photovoltaic panels, a green roof, and triple-glazed windows.

Amenities at the building include a ground-floor community facility, a sunken garden courtyard, a fitness center, a laundry room, a 24-hour attended lobby, a computer lab, and meeting rooms.

“Our design approach for providing a backdrop for living is universal,” Grant Marani, partner at RAMSA, said. “When designing Edwin’s Place, as with all of our apartment buildings, we listened to our client’s aspirations and looked to the neighborhood for inspiration. Brooklyn’s rich heritage of well-detailed brick apartment buildings provided the context to create permanent, comfortable, dignified, and welcoming ‘homes’ for the Edwin’s Place residential community.”

Edwin’s Place is the second affordable housing designed by RAMSA with affordable housing developer Breaking Ground, with the first being in Connecticut. The residential building was co-developed with the African American Planning Commission, a nonprofit focused on reducing homelessness. The organization will also provide on-site social services with support from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The apartment building contains 69 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and 56 studios. Of the 125 total units, 88 of them are designated for formerly homeless individuals and families, including veterans, and 37 of them are for low-income residents.

In May 2020, an affordable housing lottery opened for the low-income units, which were made available to those earning 40, 50, and 60 percent of the area median income. The available apartments were listed from $666/month for one-bedrooms to $1,279/month for two-bedrooms.

“The current pandemic has made clear that now more than ever, housing is health,” Brenda Rosen, CEO of Breaking Ground, said. “Edwin’s Place represents our commitment to developing safe and dignified homes to help vulnerable New Yorkers escape and avoid homelessness. Though this project has been many years in the making, it could not have been completed at a more crucial moment.”


All photos © Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

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