July 22, 2016
Teaching effective public design
Public Information Officer
Junior Public Information Officer
Bronx, NY—Approximately 60 high school and college students from the summer internship programs at the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) visited the Bronx River House in Starlight Park this week, where DDC design experts, the building’s principal architect, and the Greenway Coordinator of the Bronx River Alliance explained how the building will gain sustainability and resilience through key features of its design
“It is important for our students to physically see the different types of public buildings that are built by DDC employees so they can begin to understand the positive and long lasting impact these facilities will have on the larger community,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “This innovative building will be a great addition to Starlight Park and will also aid the Bronx River Greenway Alliance with the restoration of the Bronx River. With its environmentally-friendly design, this new facility will provide new public facilities and add to the continuous greenway built along the Bronx River.”
The students met with Irene Albert and Robert Egelbert, both from DDC’s Public Buildings Cultural Unit; Gregory Kiss, the principal architect with Kiss + Cathcart Architects; and Claudia Ibaven, the Greenway Coordinator of the Bronx River Alliance. They helped show the students how the design minimizes the impact on the surrounding environment through the use of a geothermal system which will heat and cool the building. The building will also be surrounded by a vegetative wall, which will shade the building in the summer while allowing sunlight to enter during the winter to contribute to heating.
The students are part of the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s High School and College Summer Internship program which has as its goal to establish a diverse and inclusive pipeline for youth to engage in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries.
“Site visits like the visit our students went on today helps expose our students to active construction sites. It also affords them the opportunity to meet the built environment professionals responsible for the many public structures built by DDC that enable our city to thrive,” said DDC Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Deputy Commissioner Lee Llambelis.
The River House will be the base of operations for the restoration and management of the Bronx River Greenway and when complete will be the headquarters for the Bronx River Alliance. The 7000-square-foot facility will provide new public amenities, adding to the continuous greenway built along the Bronx River, and will also include office space, a 30-seat classroom for public use and a 600-square-foot multi-purpose room. An outdoor plaza area along the Bronx River will be accessible to the public and available as an outdoor program space.
Designed by Kiss + Cathcart Architects, this new facility marks a turning point in reclaiming the Bronx River, an area once considered a dumping ground. Other sustainability features include a ground source heat pump with radiant floor heating, photovoltaic panels on the roof, and a rainwater harvesting system.
A closing ceremony for both DDC summer internship programs will be held on Friday, August 12 at DDC headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. DDC is also hosting a Middle School Summer Enrichment Program at MS 22 in the South Bronx for 50 students from District 9. On Monday August 1st, all DDC middle school students, high school interns, and college interns will participate in a Community Service Day at J.H.S. 022 Jordan L. Mott in the South Bronx, gardening on school grounds, painting, and holding a food drive to help promote the health and progression of the community.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.