516 Bergen is designed to create the largest practical number of affordable housing units within the context and character of the surrounding neighborhood. The program includes a mix of studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments in a nine story volume. More than 50% of the units will be two and three bedroom family units. The building includes active ground floor program elements that serve the community including supportive services and community facility space.
The building organization and circulation strategy uses a combination of double and single loaded corridors to allow the maximum number of apartments with south exposures while creating the largest possible distance between required windows and adjacent building elements.
A holistic design approach that simultaneously addresses community and resident health, safety, comfort, and convenience has guided all design decisions. Drawing from the small scale and diversity of Brooklyn’s early twentieth century building fabric the building form expresses four towers of different height and masonry hues to the street-scape. Each tower ends with an occupiable terrace given over to different activities including children’s play, exercise, and relaxation. These terraces give the building its identity as they reduce the scale of the street front and speak to the surrounding masonry colors, textures, and scales.
Façade scale, and detail have been carefully developed to create visual interest and texture with three patterns that diminish in size as they proceed vertically.
The corridor system includes large glazed areas that provide natural light while offering views and access to upper and lower rooftop terraces . This in turn generates a sense of security and visibility while providing an everyday sense of the activities and life of the building.
Permaculture principles suggest the use of all available surface to enhance biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and community agriculture. All available roof surfaces, trellis and wall locations will be developed for a diversity of both consumable and ornamental plant species.
The use of the long span, voided slab system allows a reduction in the number and size of columns and lessens their impact on the planning and space of the apartments. With spans up to 28’ a typical apartment will have no interior columns. This also reduces the need for structural transfers over the first floor parking.