The Sunnyside Gardens Residence

The Sunnyside Gardens Residence is a 1000 sqft single family row house located in the Sunnyside Gardens Historical District in Queens, New York.  Built in 1925, this compact 3 bedroom row house was design by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright in the Art Deco style. The structure will undergo an extensive renovation that carefully incorporates Passive House EnerPHit standards with the building elements that contribute to the special architectural character of the district, including siting, style, scale, material and detailing.

Sunnyside Gardens was built from 1924 to 1928 as a philanthropic effort to ‘encourage greater equity in housing production, location, and design’ and stands as one of America’s best examples of low-density, low-rise residential development. Inspired by the English Garden City movement, the district was based on a concept that combines resource and environmental planning of typical urban and rural conditions to create an alternative for suburban living. A key signature for the Garden City style is the combination of single-, double, and triple- family private homes with rental apartment buildings and their arrangement around common gardens and pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares. Long-time resident Lewis Mumford called Sunnyside Gardens “An exceptional community laid out by the people who were deeply human and who gave the place a permanent expression of that humanness.”

Paul A. Castrucci Architect has worked closely with the clients, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Parks Department, Queens Community Board #2 and the Hamilton Court Association to create a design that respects the character-defining features of the building and its historic context. Restoration of both primary and secondary facades begins with a particular sensitivity to the original Hudson River Brick and its corbeled detail in the entablatures of each facade. The firm received full approval from the Commission, the first in the district, on the Passive House-certified simulated double hung windows - designed to incorporate historic elements into the energy-efficient triple pane design, including shadow lines, simulated divide lights, and a simulated double-hung function (a better performing window very similar in look to the historic wooden single pane double hung window). Paul A. Castrucci Architect has carefully developed windows; paying close attention to original relationships of wall planes to windows, site lines from the street, color and material, and proper installation of all components by the contractor.

Paul Castrucci, Architect developed air sealing and brick restoration details for this project and will follow up with contractors’ training to ensure proper installation. 
A new R-40 roof assembly integrated with the Sunnyside Gardens Residence’s mechanical system is designed to minimize energy use. High-efficiency mini-split HVAC units heat and cool the home, taking up much less space than the typical apartments’ due to the buildings reduced heating and cooling loads. Interior space is limited in this single-family rowhouse, so ductwork is kept to a minimum size to take up as little space as possible as it passes through the interior. Precise air sealing installation will prevent thermal breaks.  Hot water is supplied with heat pump hot water heaters. Energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting is used throughout. Finally, a 3.5kW Solar Photovoltaic array will be installed on the roof to achieve near Net Zero energy capability. The solar layout is hidden from street view in order to respect its historical context. The home operates entirely on electricity - no natural gas or fossil fuels are used.

In-process Passive House : Open House New York