Charged with producing a statement building and bringing market-rate style to affordable housing, the design for this 175,025 sf building focuses on high-quality public spaces and well-appointed apartments within a distinct and compelling exterior.
The LEED Platinum Bronx development offers 167 apartments for low- and very low-income renters. Residents have access to recreation and community rooms, a rear patio, and a gym at the seventh floor with an adjacent outdoor terrace which offers commanding views of Manhattan and the East River. More views abound on the upper floors and large windows in the public corridor ensure that the vistas are shared.
The fully-glazed, double-height lobby, is another dignified space that 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.
MLK Plaza was one of the first developments to use the City’s new Zoning for Quality Affordability regulation, allowing the property to be rezoned residential from manufacturing. The exterior design embraces the neighborhood’s industrial identity with dark gray brick and metal panels. The gold color, however, provides a bright counterpoint to that aesthetic. The swath at the 7th floor also aligns visually with the adjacent six-story building, helping to set MLK Plaza more comfortably within the scale of its surroundings. Nestled within this band, is the cutout for the open-air terrace which breaks up the block-long façade.