Barrier Free Living, a leading agency in NYC providing temporary and permanent housing for adults with significant physical disabilities, engaged JCJ Architecture to design a new facility at the intersection of East 2nd Street, Houston Street and Avenue C in Manhattan. BFL’s mission is focused on supporting “individuals with disabilities to live dignified lives”. The planned new facility is intended to efficiently serve BFL’s programs, a sense of place and home for the residents while providing an architectural presence in a rapidly changing neighborhood.
The new building for Barrier Free Living replaces their current facility, a four story turn-of-the-19th Century timber frame school house, with a state of the art transitional and supportive housing complex, administration offices, support spaces, garden, and a 9th floor roof patio. Seeking to change the perception and mindset of what an supportive living facility ought to look and feel like, the design reaches beyond the typical typology associated with ‘shelters’ by redefining the aesthetics.
Located at the intersections of where two city grids collide, that of the East Village and the Lower East Side, the new 65,000 sf project features a twelve story twisting façade.
Holding the wall plane at street level each successive floor rotates slightly, tracking the movement of the sun and affording residents at each level a different view and relationship to the city grid.
The façade seemingly changes hue from floor to floor as subtle light variations play off the highly reflective mica content in the masonry.
Beyond bolstering the pride and satisfaction of its residents – BFL’s new home will revolutionize the public’s perception at large in terms of how important and vital institutions such as these are in keeping New York City alive, vibrant, and above all responsible for all of its citizens.