Press | March 1, 2004

Design Citation of Merit: Gates Gardens Affordable Senior Housing

Design Magazine


The Gates Gardens Senior Housing project is a new residence for low-income seniors in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York. Funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 202 Senior Housing Program, it is located in one of the city’s poorest areas.


Gates Gardens is sponsored by the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizen’s Council, a local community group, and a spectrum of public agencies, including the City of New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and is strongly supported by local New York State Assemblyman Vito Lopez.


Gates Gardens houses 62 one-bedroom units, all of which will be inhabited by low- and moderate-income senior citizens. The seven-story building uses creative design elements throughout to create a wonderful place for its residents to call home and also to form a vibrant addition to the community. The building features various shades of brick and stone. Its overall mass is broken down into base, middle, and cap. A strongly delineated modern storefront of stone and glass creates a transparent, engaging base with a floating canopy at the building’s entrance. Varying brick colors differentiate the middle from the cap, while the upper portion is constructed of stucco to accentuate a crowning element. Stone bands help to create vibrant gridlines along the brick façade, and an abundance of glass throughout lightens the building’s presence along the street.


Another key design feature of this building is the vertical central element. This dramatic addition houses the main circulation spaces and resident lounges. The expanded space is used for social gatherings and was achieved by extending the typical five-foot corridor outside the elevator lobby on each floor. The roof of this central feature ends in a “butterflied” accent, under which the building’s mechanical equipment is housed.


The site is generously landscaped with fencing and landscaping that separate the building from the public sidewalk. At the front entrance, the building is set back to create a “front porch”—a small landscaped court where residents can safely watch the street life and maintain social connections to the urban neighborhood.


The ground floor of Gates Gardens contains a modern lobby, social services office, and two spacious community rooms. These spaces provide a setting for day and evening recreation, community meetings, and other gatherings.


A building management office and superintendent apartment are also provided on the ground floor, as well as an ample laundry room. Often, the availability of these amenities on-site is critical to maintaining seniors’ independence.


Client/Owner: Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, Inc. Angela M. Battaglia, Director of Housing; Robert A. Lowe, Director of Senior Housing Development
Sponsoring Agency: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Local Assemblyman: Vito Lopez
Building: Michael P. Melnick, M. Melnick & Co., Inc.
Housing Consultant: Richard L. Comerford, Kourakos and Associates
Architect: Magnusson Architecture and Planning PC, (212) 253-7820
Architectural Design Team: Magnus Magnusson, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Joseph Lengeling AIA, Design Principal; Zenon Zeleniuch, RA, Project Architect; Kwang Kim, Staff Designer/Rendering
Structural Engineer: Andrzej Okolski, PE, Goldstein Associates PLLC
MEP Engineer: Abraham Joselow, PE, Abraham Joselow, P.E., P.C.
Resident/Client Capacity: 62 one-bedroom rental units
Total Area (Sq. Ft.): 53,853
Total Cost (Excluding Land): $8,172,000
Cost/Sq. Ft..: $152
Completion: Fall 2004