This 13-story affordable housing development in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx offers 167 apartments – 25 studios, 57 one-bedrooms, 60 two-bedrooms, and 24 three-bedroom units (plus a super’s unit) – all affordable to very low-income renters. Those residents have access to recreation and community rooms, and a rear patio, as well as a gym at the seventh floor with an adjacent outdoor terrace. This market-rate style amenity space offers commanding views of the Manhattan Skyline and East River. Sharing the views, one of the building’s most inspiring features, is a key component in this design and speaks to the effort to plan for an inclusive living environment.
The gym and open terrace space are also among design interventions to promote physical health. Not only is the on-site workout space a convenient way to stay healthy, the 7thfloor location is mid-way between the top and bottom floors, making it possible for more people to use the stairs. To encourage use, the stairwell was conceived using active design principals, so double-height landings and windows provide daylight and views.
MLK Plaza was one of the first developments to use the City’s new Zoning for Quality Affordability regulation, which allowed for a rezoning of the property from manufacturing to residential. The exterior design embraces the neighborhood’s industrial identity with dark gray brick and metal panels. The gold color of the panels, however, provides a bright counterpoint to that aesthetic and reflects the material quality of this housing. The gold swath at the 7th floor also aligns visually with the adjacent six-story building. This helps to set MLK Plaza more comfortably within the scale of the surrounding properties. Nestled within this band, is the cutout for the open-air terrace which helps break up the block-long façade.
The fully-glazed, double-height lobby, pulls daylight in and gives street-level illumination at night.A mural of the building’s namesake, by local artists Tats Cru, graces a lobby wall. Inside the apartments, hardwood floors warm the spaces and large windows flood them with natural light.
Committed to health and sustainability, MLK Plaza was designed to achieve LEED Platinum.