SOUTH RIVER PLAZA

  • Description

    South River Plaza, an affordable housing development of 500 units, designed by GLAVOVIC for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and the Healthy Housing Foundation (HHF), serves as a model for a resilient, economically viable, and dignified solution to the national crisis of housing affordability. Located on one and half city blocks in downtown Fort Lauderdale, the development consists of one new structure—a four to fifteen story tower comprised of residences, a new parking garage, Emergency Rescue Substation (ERS), and 1,500 square feet of retail space for a community grocery store. Two existing buildings on the adjacent site to the west are currently owned and operated by AHF.  With three landscaped plazas, a major east-west promenade, and multiple microgardens and landscaped terraces, the development is a series of active and passive spaces—a living campus linking buildings and creating a healthy, walkable urban space. The affordable housing development is income restricted to tenants earning less than 50% for the area medium income of Broward County. The range of unit sizes vary from 263 to 411 square feet. These units meet the zoning and building-code requirements for one-bedroom units and can be built efficiently using conventional masonry-construction systems for the South Florida environment. The building’s second skin—cladding made of decorative masonry breeze blocks—gives the building texture and scale while also modulating sun and shadow to provide passive shading and cooling. GLAVOVIC STUDIO undertook careful calculations of solar orientation and potential heat gain to create the design, where the building’s west façade has the highest concentration of breeze blocks. The breeze block evolves from a balcony wall to a screen to a full masonry wall, depending on the solar orientation of the unit, extending the unit’s living room wall to the exterior and capturing the qualities of the light, while orienting the development to the environment. The expanded floor slab creates a balcony that provides shade and lowers each unit’s ambient room temperature by providing shade. One of the goals with the Healthy Housing Apartment Development is to create an “architecture of place” in South Florida. For the neighborhood, this development enables interaction with existing commercial users, residents, and guests, creating pedestrian continuity and midblock entryways. The community-minded, pedestrian-oriented environment ensures a high quality of life for the residents; the development is also being built with high quality materials and thoughtful space planning to ensure its longevity.

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