On March 8, Dattner Architects joined Acacia Network, Phipps Houses, State and City officials, and partnering community leaders for the ribbon cutting ceremony at Santaella Gardens. The event coincided with International Women’s Day, as the development was named in honor of Justice Irma Vidal Santaella – the first Puerto Rican woman to serve as a Justice on the New York Supreme Court. The ceremony included remarks and participation from Justice Santaella’s family, including her daughter Ivette Santaella, Esq.
Credit: Argenis Apolinario
Located in the Soundview area of the Bronx, Santaella Gardens is a new mixed-use Passive House development, providing urgently needed workforce and affordable housing. Adjacent to an elevated railway, the 12-story building has 249 apartments, a suite of residential amenities on the 11th floor, and ground floor uses including an afterschool program and community retail.
“Santaella Gardens revitalizes an underutilized lot with a lively, high-performance building that responds to two of the most urgent needs we face: the demand to build social equity and value by reinvesting in our communities and the urgent need to transition to a clean energy economy, shifting to a healthy, sustainable model for our communities and the environment.” — Rachel Ehrlich, Associate Principal, Dattner Architects
The building’s colorful accents were inspired by the famous doors and stucco façades of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico with their bright, contrasting colors. The strong horizontal expression of the window groupings and lively alternating colors can be perceived from all angles, to be enjoyed by pedestrians, subway riders, and travelers on the Bronx River Parkway. The color palette continues within the building creating a warm and vibrant home for these Bronx residents.
“Santaella Gardens has been a collaborative endeavor from the beginning. This teamwork involving Phipps Houses and the Acacia Network, the entire design team, and the skills of Monadnock Construction was necessary to achieve this high-performance building. We hope this type of high quality, low energy building becomes the norm and serves as an example of how these types of affordable, mixed-use buildings can be achieved.” — John Woelfling, Principal, Dattner Architects
The development’s design solutions provide a precedent in utilizing emerging building construction systems to address community health disparities. Projects such as this help to further the mission of many non-profit developers in giving their affordable housing tenants a high quality of life and healthy living environments needed to tackle larger social issues such as climate justice and housing affordability.
Credit: Argenis Apolinario
“Phipps Houses is proud of our 20+ year partnership with Dattner Architects. They bring absolute professionalism in both design and service that continues to impress us after all these years. Their design skill and expertise were critical for the development of Santaella Gardens, the first Passive House development for Phipps Houses and the Acacia Network. Dattner’s ability to work pragmatically with Phipps and our general contractor Monadnock Construction on both the technical details of Passive House and the difficult approvals process has been invaluable. We’re thrilled with the end result – a beautiful, extremely energy efficient building, providing desperately needed affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, including units set-aside for formerly homeless households. We look forward to working on more projects with Dattner.” — Michael Wadman, Vice President of Development, Phipps Houses