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Bronx Affordable Housing Goes Green

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Via Verde, Bronx, NY

Construction finally has begun on Via Verde, a sustainable, mixed-income housing project in the South Bronx designed by Grimshaw Architects and Dattner Architects.

A May 3 ground-breaking ceremony drew approximately 100 people, including U.S. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who was involved in the project early on while serving as commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

The 300,000-square-foot complex is rising on a 1.5-acre remediated brownfield site near a major transportation and commercial center. Via Verde will include 222 units—151 of which are reserved for low-income tenants—spread across a 20-story tower, a mid-rise duplex building, and town houses, all organized around a central courtyard. The complex will feature a wellness center and edible gardens.

Designed to use nearly one-third less energy than a comparable housing development, Via Verde, which means “Green Way,” is expected to meet or exceed LEED Gold requirements. Sustainable features include a rainwater collection system, photovoltaic panels, and green roofs.

The $100 million project has been years in the making. It stemmed from a 2004 competition organized by AIA N.Y., which asked designers to conceive green, affordable housing. That undertaking evolved into the “Legacy Project,” a competition sponsored by AIA N.Y. and various city departments. It, too, solicited proposals for sustainable, affordable housing, but focused on the South Bronx site. Grimshaw and Dattner, paired with Jonathan Rose Companies and Phipps Houses Group, won first place, beating out 32 other contenders.

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Maria Milosheva

Maria was born, raised and currently lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, EU. She is a journalist by profession and practices psychological consultation for the past few years. Maria worked as a reporter/journalist for a number of newspapers and radio stations. She served as a chief-editor of the National Library's monthly magazine Librarian for a number of years. Maria started drawing in 1991, urged by a strong inner need to recreate the reality beyond the usual – the world of forms and details… She has taken part in various exhibitions and her work is in a number of private collections around the world. It can be seen at MarmiArt.com. Maria's drawings are created using mixed techniques – aquarelle, tempera, ink, pencils, etc. They are unique and have no names. Their eventual owners would give them names, effectively becoming a part of the process of creating them. Every one can charge their own drawing with one's own energy and identify it with one's self. The drawings will repay generously, predisposing for calm moments of reflection and meditation.