Sotomayor Houses, re-named in honor of the Supreme Court’s Justice Sonia Sotomayor, is a sprawling New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) development in the Bronx. The development is made up of 28 seven-story buildings arranged across a 30-acre campus. Completed in 1955, the 1,496 apartment development has an estimated 3,497 residents.
Major capital improvements and the complete renovation of all buildings is the result of long-standing deferred maintenance. The masonry facades at these buildings were observed to have wide-spread diagonal and horizontal cracks, open mortar joints, and dislodged masonry units, creating potentially unsafe conditions. Additional cracking at the corners and centers of nearly all parapets was observed, as well as deterioration of the top floor lintels and masonry. Additional investigations uncovered ongoing problems with building sewer piping, trash compactors, and bulkhead structures.
The comprehensive rehabilitation consists of selective masonry, full parapet and full roof replacement, as well as a complete replacement of windows, plumbing, fixtures, finishes, security and site sewage. Interior renovations are repairing water damage due to leaks through roof, facade and from deteriorated plumbing. LED site lighting will be installed throughout the campus.
As part of the comprehensive rehabilitation of the Sotomayor Houses, Nelligan White designed and specified replacement windows for the entire development in response to severe weather/leakage problems. Nelligan White’s design of the replacement addressed the following concerns: energy and weather efficiency, durability and maintenance, safety, code and regulation requirements, economy, as well as aesthetic and historic consistency. Our recommendations allowed for efficiency, safety, and compliance with applicable building and ADA code requirements. The windows would be installed with opening governors preventing more than 4½” openings and thus eliminating the requirement for child safety guards. Other considerations included operable space area and the addition of air conditioning units. They would also provide standard openings for air conditioners to ensure safety and efficiency and a uniform appearance. While it was not possible to restore the original steel window design because of energy concerns and placement of window air conditioners, our objective was to provide a design that is both efficient, safe and in
keeping with code requirements as well as the 1951 building design.
Ultimately, the objective of Nelligan White’s window study was to ensure the comfortability of the residents and provide a reliable solution to the Authority.