Highlights of 2015

It’s been a busy year for us at Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects! We broke ground on several projects, renovated our office, received some awards, completed a few projects, and gained two new team members.

In short, it seems like an appropriate time for a highlight reel of 2015.

Hour Apartment House III Won a Silver Brick In Architecture Award

ESKW/A’s second project for Hour Children, Hour Apartment House III, was completed in 2014 and was well-received by the Brick Industry Association this year. It was gratifying for the project team, headed up by Fialka, to see their attention to brick detailing garner this recognition.

4380 Bronx Boulevard also received a Boston Society of Architects Award and a Silver Medal of Honor from the Society of American Registered Architects, while New Settlement Community Campus collected an Excellence Award from the Center for Active Design.

True Colors Bronx Opened Its Doors

With much celebration, especially from True Colors’ exuberant patron Cyndi Lauper, our second project for West End Residences was completed in September. The 7-story supportive housing building offers 30 efficiency apartments to formerly homeless LGBT youths. Read more here.

ESKW/A Took a Field Trip to the Aquarium

Following the topping out ceremony earlier this year, ESKW/A toured the WCS’s Ocean Wonders: Sharks! at the NY Aquarium construction site and enjoyed one of the last summer days by the ocean in Coney Island. Project team Cary, Carlos, Martin, Michael, and Fialka gave a detailed behind the scenes look at the project. ESKW/A are Architects of Record for the new Sharks! exhibition building, which is anticipated to open in 2017.

1066-1070 Myrtle Avenue, 1561 Walton Avenue, and 233 Landing Road Broke Ground

Much of our staff was also busy this past fall celebrating exciting developments in several other large projects, as these three new buildings kicked into the construction phase. Be sure to check back on the blog and our website this year as we continue to post progress photos.

We Revamped Our Office, and Welcomed Carlos and Andrea

After more than 10 years in our space at 100 Lafayette, and with a growing number of employees to seat, the ESKW/A offices recently underwent a transformation.

We opened up the space by removing the low partitions dividing our stations, and installed a continuous work surface.  The new U-shaped desktops with shared side tables allow for easier collaboration — not to mention increased elbow and breathing room.

Partners Randy Wood and Andrew Knox have always preferred spacial equality in the workplace and an open office design to foster sharing of information.  Our open plan has proven itself over the past decade as a bright and airy use of our high-ceilinged corner suite, maximizing the natural light from our windows looking out on Chinatown and NYC.

ESKW/A also grew by 2 persons this year. We were happy to welcome Carlos and Andrea to the team! Carlos is working on Ocean Wonders: Sharks!, and Andrea is managing our Site 7 project for Clinton Housing Development Company and is part of the team working a new school addition for the NYCSCA.

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Hour Apartment House

ESKW/A recently had the pleasure of documenting one of our newly completed projects, Hour Apartment House III, in Astoria, NY, with photographer David Sundberg of Esto Photography.

HAH III provides supportive housing exclusively for formerly incarcerated mothers and their children.  The property is one of 7 housing properties owned and operated by Hour Children Inc., an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive help for the women and their families to build new lives together post-incarceration.  We are pleased with the results of working with a strong team, and thank David for once again capturing such lovely photos.

Congratulations to Sister Tesa on Winning the 2014 Opus Prize!

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The Opus Prize is a prestigious international prize awarded annually to organizations that demonstrate outstanding faith-based humanitarian work.  We at ESKW/A were utterly thrilled to find out that this year’s $1 million first prize recipient is none other than Sister Tesa Fitzgerald of Hour Children.   We are honored to be the architects for both the rehabilitation of Hour Apartment House II and the new design and construction of Hour Apartment House III, two of Sister Tesa’s extremely successful housing programs.  In her acceptance of the prize, Sister Tesa announced that the award money would go towards site acquisition to create more housing, which she said is desperately needed. Sister Tesa was also a subject of the recent non-fiction book If Nuns Ruled the World by Jo Piazza, which we highly recommend. She’s a hero and an inspiration.

Congratulations, Sister Tesa and Hour Children!

For past coverage of this amazing woman’s accomplishments, please see our post about her feature in the NYTimes, and read about the ribbon cutting ceremony at Hour Apartment House III.

Celebrating Very Special Mothers at Hour Children’s Ribbon Cutting

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Hour Children Inc. celebrated their official ribbon cutting at the recently completed Hour Apartment House III. Among the many honored guests were Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Greg Birch from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Brett Hebner from the Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, and Deputy Director Raymond Hodges from NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Each honored guest remarked on the beauty of the building stating that this project is more than affordable housing: it’s housing that lends dignity and is a place of healing, blessing, and hope.

The 18 families at Hour Apartment House III are all formerly incarcerated mothers who have reunited with their children and are on a journey to improve the lives of their families. The event was particularly poignant as we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday. This brings us to the most powerful part of the ribbon cutting: the women and children who spoke to the group. These speakers shared their stories of struggle, encouragement, and triumph all at the hand of Sister Tesa Fitzgerald and the staff of Hour Children. One young man spoke with wisdom beyond his years of life being like an arrow: “sometimes you have to be pulled backwards to shoot forward.”  Another woman, Vinita, spoke about her many struggles and how Sister Tesa never gave up on her, pulled her out of difficult situations, and sent regular letters of encouragement to her while she was incarcerated. Vinita, who loves to talk, then faced Sister Tesa head-on and said, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

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With Mother’s Day coming this weekend, we are very happy to acknowledge the amazing and inspiring women at Hour Apartment House III. All mothers struggle to do the best for their children and the journey these women are on is one we are proud to be part of. We are glad to see them all taking pride in their new apartments and forming a strong community where borrowing a cup of sugar is no big deal.

We are especially inspired by Sister Tesa, without whom the program wouldn’t exist and countless lives would have taken a very different path. She is fearlessly committed to helping these mothers and missed no opportunity to remind the funders and politicians that they would be hearing from her again very soon!

Architect: ESKW/A; General Contractor: Fazio Construction

 

Hour Apartments House III’s unveiled façade

A milestone was reached at Hour Apartment House III: the masonry scaffolding has been removed, revealing the medley of brick details that makes this building both connect to its context and stand out. The two brick colors break down the horizontal scale of this 4-story, 18-unit supportive housing building for formerly incarcerated women and their children. The entire team is thrilled with the result and excited to see the rest of the building as completion nears.

Under Construction – Hour Children

Hour Apartment House III in Long Island City, Queens, has topped out at the roof!  Our client Hour Children is thrilled to see the building rise out of the ground. Meanwhile, here at ESKW/A, we are relishing these views of back-up structure while we can, before the insulation and brick veneer wraps the exterior, and before the interior partitions are framed out.

Check back for more updates.

Sister Tesa’s Work with Hour Children

By Fialka, Kimberly, and Claire

We proudly support our client, Sister Tesa Fitzgerald of Hour Children, who is featured in the recent New York Times article “In Deeds, Nuns Answer Call of Duty!”

Sister Tesa is one of the Sisters who founded Hour Children, a non-profit organization which provides care for the children of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. Hour Children maintains supportive services upon the women’s release from prison as they reunite with the children and adjust to their new lives. Supportive and affordable housing offered by Hour Children plays a key role in this transition.

We are proud to be a part of this process as architects for several of Hour Children’s housing initiatives. Currently under construction is Hour Apartment House III, a new 4-story apartment building in Long Island City providing eighteen 2 and 3-bedroom apartments. Also completed for Hour Children was Hour Apartment House II, the rehabilitation of an existing building and conversion into eight units of supportive housing.

Keep up the great work, Sister Tesa!

Jim Dwyer, “In Deeds, Nuns Answer Call of Duty,” The New York Times, May 1st, 2012.