In spite of the pressures of gentrification, the LES remains a diverse community. According to Census data, Community District 3 is 32% white, 34% Asian, 25% Latino, but just 7% black.
While the Seward Park urban renewal site was halted for years as neighborhood groups debated over the need for new affordable housing, racial politics was always a factor. When the community finally came together on a compromise plan, housing for both those displaced and for other local residents was a priority, and former site tenants, as well as other community residents won preference.
The site is identified in New York City records as Block 352 and part of Block 346, bounded to the north by Delancey Street, with Essex Street to the west, Broome to the south and Suffolk to the east. Sanborn Maps Plates 16 and 17 for Manhattan cover the area. The site is currently separated by Norfolk Street, but the two blocks may be combined, and part of adjacent road spur off Delancey can be included as indicated on the Site Plan and Site Axonometric. Below grade, for the purposes of this competition, the J,M,Z subway lines, as well as the abandoned trolley tracks proposed to be developed into the Lowline park are at 20’ below sidewalk level. Although competition entries may follow the general planning guidelines being enacted in the current development proposals for Essex Crossing, completely different planning guidelines may be proposed as the lead project.
Delancey Street is a major auto, subway, pedestrian and bicycle corridor leading to the Williamsburg Bridge, a structure that innovatively pushed the limits of the construction technologies of its day.
Among the many media projects that have feature the area are the films “The Naked City”, “Crossing Delancey”, and the ethnographic documentary “The Lower East Side: An Endangered Place 2009”. Refer to the resources for more site information.
In general, please refer to the New York City code. Please note, however, that in reference to timber construction, one of the goals of this competition is to explore new construction opportunities enabled by contemporary timber technology that may not yet be anticipated or fully embraced by the current NYC code. Each entry is encouraged to understand the potential of contemporary timber systems, drawing from available resources and comparable code reviews from other jurisdictions and governmental agencies, as they pertain to new timber and wood systems, to inform the submitted design.
Also, please refer to the International Building Code. Accessibility guidelines need to be followed; refer to the Americans with Disabilities Act, along with the principals of Universal Design.
Do not follow the NYC Zoning Resolution for building setbacks, heights or massing, as the minimum and maximum building heights and massing square footage prescribed in this competition brief is very different than what the NYC Zoning Resolution calls for on this site. Buildings proposed for the site shall include a mid-rise portion of a height no less than 70’ and no greater than 80’, and programmed bulk shall not be less than 190,00 SF nor greater than 220,000 SF as outlined in the Program Distribution.
The design project must be conceived in structural timber. A strategy should be considered that evaluates a method for taking advantage of timber’s properties and characteristics in order to conceptualize and propose a critical evaluation of the design solution