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Affordable Italian Market senior housing project puts design first

Just blocks from the Italian Market, Cedars Village, a 64-unit affordable housing development for seniors, is rising in what used to be a surface parking lot. Developed by the St. Maron's CDC and designed by Haley Donovan Architecture, the project offers a case study for delivering affordable housing with modern materials in a historic section of the city.
 
The project "has been welcomed by the neighborhood for it’s modern, yet contextual response," says Jim Haley, principal at Haley Donovan. "It is one of the few design-heavy affordable housing projects in Philadelphia."
 
"As with most urban projects, we had to make use of every square foot to make the project work," says Mike Donovan, another principal with the firm.

The architects had to find a balance -- they had to meet certain unit denisty requirements while avoiding designing a generic monolith.
 
"Our answer was to progressively step the street facing facades up as they moved back, carve out large chunks at the ground level and pay homage to the traditional Philly rowhome," explains Haley. "It allowed us to respect the history of the area, while still providing a solution that was dense enough for our client."
 
That was just the first of many design solutions the team came up with.
 
The site plan concessions called for 100 percent stormwater retention on site, something not easily done on an urban parcel. The designers used a building step back to create a private green roof. This helped them reach that 100 percent mark while also providing an added amenity for residents.
 
The project -- which was resurrected after years of dormancy through collaboration between developers, architects and community leaders -- is aiming for a spring completion date.
 
Source:  Mike Donovan and Jim Haley, Principals, Jeffrey Pastva, Architect, Haley Donovan Architecture
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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