Friday, October 22, 2010

2 Hour Field Trip To Harlem River Houses

My classmate John and I took a break from the freezing cold architecture building at City College and went to visit the Harlem River Houses during a short break in between classes.

We had just learned about this New Deal era housing project in our History of Modern Architecture, so it was great to see it in person after learning about its history. 

The Harlem River Houses is the first fully funded project by the federal government in New York.   The complex was built in 1937, during a time when public housing was segregated, for African American Residents.  They were built and designed according to the demand of the people who would be living in them, and the African American architect John Louis Wilson Jr. was included in the design team.  

The project is in 2 parts, organized around a triangle with a central axis.  It takes ideas of the "bending form" to create small courtyards which allowed every building to have light and air and play areas for children. It also allowed for every room to have a window.  

The Harlem River Houses are said to be the most successful public housing in New York. The architects designed a modern, spacious building that contained 574 apartments. The Harlem River Houses had child care, health care and public community room right on site, and rent in 1937 was $21.00 a month. The buildings are 4 or 5 stories tall. When the project was completed, 11,000 people applied for the new apartments available.

However, I couldn't help but noticing that the children's playgrounds and the so called garden are in desperate need of attention... Perhaps a future design project for me?

The two photos above are of the playground areas.  They are completely outdated and in need of a paint job (or of being torn down and redesigned).

This is the garden.  Where are all the plants??

No comments:

Post a Comment