Bernard M. Baruch Houses – the largest New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) development in Manhattan – is comprised of 18 residential towers housing over 5,600 residents. Completed in 1959, the 28-acre campus occupies prime real estate in the now-burgeoning Lower East Side.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Nelligan White was asked by NYCHA to consider the long-term resilience of Baruch Houses as a model for reconceiving NYCHA’s organizational and maintenance plans for their building portfolio. Furthermore, Nelligan White was asked to consider a design solutions to make Baruch Houses more flood-resistant.
Nelligan White took into account several elements that were integral to energy performance and resiliency. Among them emergency power production, with energy performance in mind, and analyzing how the site and its community center can better provide emergency services in potential future storm events became central to the design strategy.
Our architectural plans are complete with a new elevated central heating plant and outbuildings where an electrical backup generation system supports the entire campus to go off-grid during peak usage. The design also included new entry plazas, renovated lobbies, campus-wide LED site lighting, security upgrades, and the reorganization of common spaces to improve security. These upgrades confound NYCHA’s resiliency goals for their buildings located within the FEMA A-zone, which has a 26% chance of experiencing a flood event over a 30-year lifespan.