The first housing facility of its kind in NYC, True Colors Residence in Central Harlem offers dynamic and much-neededpermanent living space for formerly homeless LGBT youth. The six-story project hosts 30 studio apartments, ideal for residents to learn independent living. A lounge, a kitchen, a library, administrative offices, and a meeting room will provide numerous gathering places for residents to socialize as well as to receive support services.
ESKW/A’s budget-conscious design uses texture and color to enliven the building. Warm red brick accents the façade and glazed CMU units visually separate the public shared spaces from the private residential area. The façade gives way to large openings that optimize day-lighting in each apartment.
The rear yard, situated on three different levels, was an opportunity to design a variety of green, communal spaces that include a patio with a shaded trellis, a yoga area, and a cellar-level patio designed to be a common gathering space. This uniquely terraced backyard funnels ample daylight into the library and computer rooms, all located below grade.
The design incorporates numerous green elements and received NYSERDA funding for energy conservation. Integrated light sensors in the common space areas and administrative offices, as well as low-energy LED and fluorescent lighting throughout, minimize unnecessary electrical use. The roof was designed to be pre-equipped for the future installation of a vegetated green roof.
True Colors received a Design Award for Housing from the Boston Society of Architects in 2012, as well as a Design Award from the Society of American Registered Architects and was named Residence of the Year by the Supportive Housing Network of New York.