Millis – New York City

Organization name: Amy Gross Architects

Project Title: Meles

The project Location: 161-01 89th Avenue, Jamaica, Queens

Project Description:
The Melis Building, a new eight-story building, provides homes for 70 people, including low-income seniors and individuals with psychiatric disabilities, with most of the tenants exiting the shelter system. The nonprofit developer, Transitional Services for New York, provides on-site mental health care and skill building. The building enhances a sense of security and joy for tenants and employees by flooding the building with natural light and directly connecting the interior to three outdoor spaces: a courtyard off the lobby and laundry room, a meditative sunken garden with a fountain, and a gazebo. A rooftop terrace off the recreation room is designed for celebrations and classes. The range of spaces creates a sense of community by cultivating collective activities and a sense of self. The double-height lounge on the first floor overlooking the neighborhood contains areas for conversation and reading. All apartments are studios, carefully designed to maximize comfort and efficiency within guidelines set by HPD, the project financier. Although each is approximately 325 square feet, the design allows for separate living areas, making the spaces feel cozy. AGA selected the furniture for the supportive apartments and gathering spaces.

Community Impact:
The Mieles Hotel is located on a corner visible from busy Jamaica Avenue, which is just a few blocks away, and the surrounding streets. Its visibility from afar and its details up close have made it an architectural icon in this neighborhood, creating a real impact between the building, its residents, and the community as a whole. The building’s design respects and responds to its surrounding built environment. This presence enhances the feeling of security and pride for everyone. The intricate brickwork culminates in two glazed brick murals that span the height of the building, leading up to the ‘lantern’, which frames the day and night sky. The large windows are carefully arranged to create visual interest on the facade with five different brick colors and textures, bringing passers-by close to the building to interact with the architecture and its residents. Community is created within the building, where vulnerable residents coming from difficult circumstances and bleak environments now have the opportunity to make friends, visit family and enjoy their own company as they are guided to recovery from TSINY case management support in an upbeat and colourful way. Spaces, all of which contribute to providing a place that the displaced can now call home.

Organization description:
Amie Gross Architects is a full-service architectural firm, designing for diverse urban communities since 1984. AGA is as committed to using architecture to address social issues as it is to creating healing and harmonious environments. We design community facilities, including affordable and supportive housing, health clinics, schools, and other civic works. Our approach to analysis and dialogue with our clients, especially non-profit developers and government agencies, results in architectural design that reflects our clients’ mission of creating caring communities.

Team members:

Amy Gross AIA, President
Alex La Ferla AIA, Head of School
Mauri Tamarin AIA, Chief Design Officer
Larry Grobler, CEO, TSINY
Youssef Center, Department. monastery. For residential development

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