Dubbed ‘The House That Jazz Built’, a new affordable housing development planned for the Melrose Commons neighborhood in the Bronx is a complex of buildings adapted to distinct site conditions which in its design, conveys the feeling of a unified whole. Retail and cultural space are new additions to the street front at the intersection of 163rd and Elton. Both take advantage of a new landscaped plaza where performance and greenmarket activity take place. Massing configuration integrates the varying scales of building in the neighborhood and maximizes sun exposure in the interior courtyard.
Taking cues from intertwining voices of musical composition, the design defines scale through modulating bands across the length of the façade. The street-level storefront wraps the building in a band of translucent glazing and perforated metal scrim which reveals activity to passers-by, and forms a welcoming graphic identity to the community. The above masonry expresses a range of tones drawn from the surrounding neighborhood and rises and drops creating a rhythmic pattern. The upper band echoes the lowest band with a subtle variations on muted tones.