Sixty 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 promote 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 showed the students how the structure's design minimizes the impact on the surrounding environment through the use of a geothermal system to heat and cool the building. The building will also be surrounded by a vegetative wall to 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 strives 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.