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Affordable and Special Needs Housing

Macedon, NY

Winner of 2017 AIA Rochester Design Excellence Award

Photos by Carrie Mateosian

In response to the need for safe, affordable housing in rural Wayne County, this new 60-unit apartment residence is located adjacent to the historic Erie Canal in the Town of Macedon, New York.  Serving a mixed-population of individuals with limited income and mental illness, the one-bedroom units provide those with special needs the opportunity to live in a supportive environment, near essential community services.

The glass link clearly delineates the separate structures, while revealing the public spaces of the entrance lobby, commons, and outdoor courtyard beyond. This volume serves as the building’s main entrance, central organizing element, and provides gathering and activity spaces for its residents. 

Abundant natural light permeates the interior, and warm, natural materials contribute to a therapeutic environment.  The oversized divided-lite windows echo the proportions of those found on vernacular buildings, while providing views of the Erie Canal to the north, and the Ganargua Creek and woodlands to the south.

Taking cues from the region’s agrarian architecture, the grouping of buildings resembles a farmstead.  Four simple 3-story barn-like masses, orthogonally juxtaposed, connect to a one-story Community Building with a transparent glass link.  The front setback appropriately addresses the road while the J-shaped plan wraps around a south-facing, landscaped exterior courtyard.

Importance was placed on both sustainability and affordability.  The building’s energy efficiency exceeds the NYS Energy Code requirements and is Energy Star and LEED for Homes certified.  In addition, the parking space requirements were reduced through a zoning variance to maximize green space and minimize impervious surfaces.  The project was completed for a total construction cost of $168 per square foot.

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