Habitat For Humanity 2.0:

A Housing Expo in Yonkers, NY

Advanced VI Studio- GSAPP Spring 2021
Critic: Galia Solomonoff, Solomonoff Architecture Studio

Collaboration with: Camille Lanier

Ever since its founding in 1976, Habitat For Humanity aids families in homeownership while providing interest-free mortgages and affordable homes. The NGO has been proud of its ‘sweat equity’ and ‘partnership housing’ concepts, where homeowners and their communities participate in the construction of the houses they get to own.

Habitat For Humanity 2.0 serves as a platform to aid in the historical and current housing crisis in NYC and Yonkers through innovative and viable interventions in the existing stock. Acknowledging the long history of housing desegragation in Yonkers and its industrial status, the project aims to bridge Yonkers to Manhattan through direct shipping routes via the Hudson River and the Metro North railroad. The site is therefore an extention of Habitat’s network where building materials get recycled, repurposed and reused for the construction of future homes.

Our HQ for Habitat 2.0 in Yonkers is a housing expo displaying ways in which live, work and make could co-exist in a healthy and sustainable environment. This industrial site along the waterfront is proposed to be rezoned for a mixed-use district for addressing future challenges regarding climate change, pandemics, floods and natural disasters.

Left: Existing zoning in Yonkers and proposed mixed-use district along the waterfront for Habitat For Humanity 2.0 HQ.
Right: Site circulation showing reconnection to the existing city grid, pedestrian access and proposed coastline

Catalogue of varying densities of housing typologies in Yonkers and NYC Habitat For Humanity 2.0 aims to renovate and upgrade.

Above: Site masterplan of housing typologies Habitat For Humanity 2.0 addresses: single-family, townhouses, multi-family, courtyard buildings, tenements and warehouse lofts. The mix of housing typologies creates an opportunity for different demographics to co-exist while providing public amenities, recreational facilities and pavilions along the promenade.

Above: Image of the mulltifamily courtyard housing typology. Habitat 2.0 acknowledges the standardization that is required for the construction of mass housing, yet introduces bespoke living conditions on the inside of the courtyard that owners can take over. A pedestrian walking inside the courtyard encounters a completely different experience from the unified exterior facade. Units facing the courtyard become fully-adaptable live/work/play areas that owners can shape based on their individual needs. Varying sizes of windows create a playful atmosphere.

Above: Lower level of a warehouse loft where workers and artists re-design and paint recycled appliances.

Zoomed in plan of the warehouse loft building. The plan divides the building into quadrants that serve as a mix of workshops and living spaces.

Section of the warehouse loft building showing the interplay between ‘make’ and ‘live’ as the lofts serve as homes to artists and workers following the idea of ‘sweat equity’ of Habitat for Humanity. The lower floor acts as the delivery / drop of that cuts through a conveyor belt connecting the industrial zones.

Habitat 2.0’s HQ and housing expo aims not only to address housing issues of home ownership but also challenges with climate resiliency, pandemics, sustainability practices, while offering an attraction to bridge Yonkers and NYC.