1.  New Entry (under construction)   2. New Rooftop Planting   3. New Rooftop Mural   4. New Community Room 5. New Community Room  6. New Lobby   7. New Gym  8.  New Facade Lighting  



275 South Street was originally designed and commissioned in the 1970’s as a 50/50 building. The 50/50 model, where units are split evenly between market rate and affordable housing, was developed to incentivize developers to provide additional a menities that would benefit all residents within those properties and thereby provide better living conditions for those affordable units. Continuing that spirit, L&M Development, who acquired the property in 2014, reached out to ORE to design new amenities for the building. Upon initial evaluation for the existing construction, specifically noting the bearing capacity of the brutalist concrete structure and the additional height necessary to achieve views off the roof over the parapet line, ORE saw the potential to develop something truly unique in Manhattan: providing an affordable housing project with its own rooftop forest.

ORE developed a scheme where raising the roof deck would provide the necessary soil depth to plant 80 mature aspen trees atop the structure. Communal spaces are carved into the forest floor at a variety of scales allowing for large and small groups alike to sit within the landscape with framed views of Downtown Brooklyn. That same approach in trying to work with the existing structure, led ORE to look at the 260 cantilevered concrete balconies hanging off the building façade. As the most prominent façade elements, ORE chose to amplify that condition by adding light objects underneath each balcony to act as both a light for the tenants and a public art piece depicting an abstraction of east river tidal maps when viewed from the street.

In addition, ORE designed a new community room, gym, and lobby to enhance the ground floor. 5 local street artists were commissioned to create unique pieces for each new communal element that reflect the local neighborhood people and geography. The approach to landscaping was also to further introduce communal areas for the residents by providing continuous concrete benches, lush native plantings, and indirect lighting to illuminate the space and make it more inviting and secure.

Client: L + M Development Partners
Program: Residential
Location: Lower East Side, NY
Area:  42,000 sf
Status: Complete