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Social Housing in SoBro Courtesy of Times' New Archicritic

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Michael Kimmelman debuts his newly-installed role as New York Times chief architecture critic today with a piece not on Dubai's starriest starchitecture, but a subsidized green housing development in South Bronx. Keeping it local: check; not treating a building as an art object: check; aesthetic taste and design descriptiveness? Jury's still out, as Kimmelman focuses mostly on the social impact, macro- and micro-, about building "healthy" civic architecture. What he does say about the visual effect of Via Verde, designed by Dattner Architects and Grimshaw, is overwhelmingly positive.
"...Spending extra for anything as intangible as elegance or architectural distinction? In Via Verde’s case maybe 5 percent more, by Mr. Rose’s estimate, went into the project’s roof and its fine, multipanel, multicolor facade, with big windows, sunshades and balconies. It aims to stand out, aesthetically, formally, as a foreground building, not another background one: to anchor the urban hodgepodge around it and make the area look more coherent, which in this case entails not echoing its context but redefining it."
The building comprises two main sections, a row of three-story townhouses at the south nestled against a 20-story tower at the north. The facade is intercut with aesthetic details that serve a dual purpose, like a series of green roofs, sunshades, and solar panels, in addition to a material mix of aluminum, cement, wood, and glass.

A representative from co-developer Jonathan Rose Companies tells us that they have received 800 applications for the 71 affordable housing co-ops ranging in price from $79,000 to $193,000, and are still accepting applications. The 151 rental apartments will begin marketing in October.
· In a Bronx Complex, Doing Good Mixes With Looking Good [NYT]
· Official site: Via Verde [viaverdenyc.com]
· Michael Kimmelman coverage [Curbed]