East Village

Press: Rosario Dawson’s family wants to buy low-income housing units in the East Village by Paul Castrucci

POSTED ON MON, MAY 15, 2017BY ANNIE DOGE

544 West 13th Street under construction in January, via  Paul A. Castrucci Architect  (L)

544 West 13th Street under construction in January, via Paul A. Castrucci Architect (L)

Actress Rosario Dawson’s family hopes to buy low-income apartments in a newly renovated building as part of a city program that converts abandoned homes into affordable units. Rosario grew up in an East Village squatter’s den and her family continues to live in the East 13th Street co-op, even after the actress became famous and amassed a net worth of more than $16 million. According to the New York Post, long-time tenants of the building say the Dawson family bullied their way into controlling a third of the 14-unit residence over the last 20 years.

 

The 19th-century building at 544 East 13th Street (between Avenues A and B) has been owned by the nonprofit Urban Homesteading Assistance Board since 2002, and the city sold the property for $1 each to aid the non-profit’s goal of helping squatters take legal ownership of the properties. However, its co-op conversion did not begin until 2015 and the city has spent $1.78 million for renovations. Squatters now are being given the chance to buy apartments there for $2,500 each, but they can earn no more than $53,450 per year have to live in the building at least 270 days of the year to be considered eligible.

Rosario’s mother, Isabel, who says charity work takes her out of the city much of the year, doesn’t want to adhere to the primary residency rule. During a December 2016 meeting, Isabel asked the nonprofit representative if the rule can be changed to just six months.

One of the original squatters, Annie Wilson, discovered the building in 1986 overrun by feral cats and garbage. Wilson, an activist and artist, worked with other community members to restore the building and bring in water and electricity. She told the post that Rosario financially backs her family. “She’s supportive of her parents. I don’t understand why she hasn’t acquired housing for them elsewhere so these units could be for New Yorkers in need.”

The Dawsons first landed at the East Village co-op in 1986 and were voted by other squatters to occupy apartment 4C. Although the family soon moved to Texas, they continued to sublet their unit to others, a peculiar move for tenants in this type of building. When they returned to East 13th Street, Isabel allegedly became physically aggressive with neighbors. In a 2001 letter, the president of the Tenants’ Association, Alfa Diallo, wrote, “Isabel Dawson’s threatening and violent behavior have jeopardized the safety of the residents.”

Despite these complaints, Isabel and other Dawson family members were able to stay in the building, and ss the Post reported, the family spread their squatting to other apartments, even taking over one unit while its tenant was at work. Isabel’s husband event started living in a room on the first floor that tenants hoped to turn into a gallery or music room.

Adam Leitman Bailey, a lawyer who represents the Dawsons, told the Post that after reviewing the family’s tax returns, all of them are qualified to buy the apartments. “I can guarantee you that none of them are wealthy,” he said.

[Via NY Post]

In-process Sustainable & Affordable Housing : 544 East 13th St, New York NY by Paul Castrucci

Sustainable and affordable housing is a critical part of our practice. For more than two decades the firm has engaged in educating the public and increasing awareness on this essential type of housing. The firm is pleased to present two current sustainable and affordable housing projects in the East Village community. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development.  

544 East 13th Street is a gut renovation project in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York.  Our design team often engages in a participatory design process with the existing tenants, many of whom had lived in their spaces for more than 20 years.  The firm with developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development the firm is incorporating Passive House design techniques.  Currently the firm is preparing the building's air tight construction with improved insulation and windows have arrived and to be installed soon.

In-process Sustainable & Affordable Housing : 377 East 10th St, New York NY by Paul Castrucci

Sustainable and affordable housing is an essential part of our practice for more than twenty years. The firm is pleased to present two current sustainable and affordable housing projects in the East Village community. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development.  

377 East 10th Street is a gut renovation project in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York.  Our design team engaged in a participatory design process with the existing tenants, many of whom had lived in their spaces for more than 20 years.  Through a series of one on one meetings with the tenants, their ideas and spatial needs were incorporated into the project.  

The building is being adapted to meet the Passive House EnerPHit and Enterprise Green Communities standards. The firm is incorporating Passive House design techniques such as air tight construction, improved insulation and windows, and energy recovery ventilation, the buildings are made truly sustainable and truly affordable. 

Open House Event: 377 East 10th Street, Manhattan by Paul Castrucci

For 13th International Passive House Days Paul A. Castrucci, RA and Jaime Alvarez, RA gave a guided open house tour of 377 East 10th Street in the East Village on Friday,  November 11 at 3:30 p.m. The architects held a discussion on site for builders, engineers, architects, developers, affordable homeowners and green building enthusiasts to learn more about the project. This New York Passive House open house tour focused on how the firm is implementing Passive House construction and addressing the neighborhood demand for affordable housing.  Reduction in energy use is critical to maintaining affordable housing, where residents may already be financially challenged.

This is a Passive House retro-fit of a pre-1900 six story tenement.  The building was adapted to meet the Passive House EnerPHit and Enterprise Green Communities standards. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development. 

East Village Open House: 2016 New York Passive House Days | Nov. 11, 2016 by Paul Castrucci

377 East 10th St, Manhattan | Friday - November 11, 3:30 PM

RSVP on New York Passive House website - Link to RSVP

 

For Immediate Release:

New York City - Paul A. Castrucci, Architect joins New York Passive House (NYPH) for the 13th International Passive House Days. NYPH tours offer the public and industry experts a first hand interaction with Passive Houses. Paul A. Castrucci, RA and Jaime Alvarez, RA will guide the open house tour of 377 East 10th Street in the East Village on Friday,  November 11 at 3:30 p.m. The architects will also hold a discussion and educational event on site for builders, engineers, architects, developers, affordable homeowners and green building enthusiasts to learn more about the project.  

This is a Passive House retro-fit of a pre-1900 six story tenement.  The building was adapted to meet the Passive House EnerPHit and Enterprise Green Communities standards. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development. This NYPH open house tour will also focus on how the firm is implementing Passive House construction and addressing the neighborhood demand for affordable housing.  Reduction in energy use is critical to maintaining affordable housing, where residents may already be financially challenged.

Passive House is an international building standard developed in the 1990s by the Passive House Institute of Darmstadt Germany.  The firm is committed to building to Passive House standards, reducing building energy use through passive measures and components such as insulation, airtightness, heat recovery, solar heat gains, solar shading and incidental internal heat gains. Passive House buildings are comfortable, affordable and create deep reductions in environmental/carbon footprint. 

New York Passive House is an independent not-for-profit organization that facilitates the exchange of information and experiences, among local, national and international practitioners of the Passive House building standard. 

Paul A. Castrucci, Architect is an early adapter of Passive House construction having completed R-951, which is New York City’s first Net Zero Capable, Passive House certified residence. The firm has over thirty years of experience in sustainable practices with a focus on residential buildings, arts facilities and community centers. The firm’s body of work reflects the firms commitment to sustainability in design and construction. The materials and building systems the firm employs are selected for their low environmental impact and maximum energy efficiency. The firm values building principles that employ both passive and active strategies to generate energy and significantly reduce energy use. The firm’s projects typically incorporate systems like passive and active solar heating, photovoltaic electricity generation and schemes for natural day lighting and ventilation. 

Special thanks to our partners

Press contact: Rosalinda@castrucciarchitect.com
T. 212.254.7060 x 612

Press EV GRIEVE : [Updated] An urban garden grows atop Umbrella House on Avenue C by Paul Castrucci

SATURDAY, JULY 18, 2015

Via the EVG inbox… 
 

Today from 4 to 7 pm the former Lower East Side squat Umbrella House will host an open house to inaugurate its urban farming project. At 5 pm members of Umbrella’s Rooftop Garden Committee will speak briefly about the development of the project. 

EVENT RAINDATE: Sunday July 19; 4 — 7 pm.

This 820 square foot intensive green roof serves as a source of fresh produce for building residents, as a means to assist in storm water management, and as a model for other New York

The garden was initially conceived in early 2012 and construction was completed in December 2014. Now in its first growing season, the garden is producing swiss chard, broccoli, white onions, eggplant, okra, spinach, zucchini, basil, sugar snap peas, jalapeno peppers, lamb’s quarters, and several varieties of tomatoes; as well as medicinal plants: hyssop, lemon balm, chamomile, calendula, and passion flower.

Umbrella’s Rooftop Garden involved extensive construction: structural steel framing and concrete planking were required to build the raised 8” planting bed. Construction cost was $150,000. Area architect Paul Castrucci was the project architect.

Umbrella House members believe that this project is a worthy example for other co-ops and property owners to emulate. 

Umbrella House Garden Committee and Co-op Board Member Parker Pracjek states: “Access to healthy food through Farmer’s Markets, Green Food Carts, and Farm to Table initiatives have made some improvements to food health literacy in New York City, but more must be done. Food justice should be expanded to urban farming to transform underused spaces into productive environments. The benefits of urban farming are far-reaching and include decreased carbon footprint, responsible use of natural and human resources and community health.”

[Image via the Umbrella House website]

Umbrella House is at 21 Avenue C between East Second Street and East Third Street. 

Read more about the garden here. The New York Times has a feature on the garden here.