3333 Broadway Entry Plaza
3333 Broadway Entry Plaza
Facility: Multi-Family Residential
Size: 20,000 sf
Design Architect: Gallin Beeler Design Studio, PLLC
Landscape Architect: IQ Landscape Architecture
Structural Engineer: The Di Salvo Engineering Group
Owner: BSREP UA 3333 Broadway LLC
The main entry plaza of the 1,250 unit apartment complex at 3333 Broadway in West Harlem has undergone a much needed re-imagination, reconfiguration and renovation. With the building’s main entry set back over 250’ from the site’s entry point at 135th Street and Broadway, the design of the plaza connecting that intersection to the building is of critical importance to the over 5,000 residents who pass through it each day.
The existing plaza design dates from when the Mitchell Lama public housing complex, the largest in North America, was constructed in the mid-70’s. Run down after 40 years of heavy use and re-paved with asphalt in a previous renovation, the plaza was very much in need of both a facelift and a significant re-thinking. Other issues that needed to be considered in a re-design were the inability to see the building entry as you enter the plaza, softening of the large paved areas, improvement of the lighting, elimination of places where groups could congregate and use of low cost vandalism-resistant materials
The entry plaza re-design addresses all of these issues. The defining element of the design is a gently curving arc of landscaping in low concrete walls that gracefully connect 135th Street to the building’s entry, making the entry much more visible as you walk through the plaza. Accent lighting is incorporated into the planters, with new pole lights and up-lighting under the existing trees creating significant improvement to both security and ambiance after dark. The entry to the site is moved away from the congested Broadway corner and the plaza is designed for easy passage but without areas for groups to congregate. The plaza’s new paving features colored concrete strips accenting the curved landscape wall and relating to the building’s red brick. The corner near Broadway has been beautifully landscaped as well as the large lawn area west of the curved plaza’s walkway. And a dramatic new back-lit steel “3333” sign announces entry to the plaza at the 135th Street sidewalk.
Executed with a limited budget and vandalism-resistant materials, the plaza redesign provides significantly improved pedestrian access to the building’s entry as well as a safe, pleasant and beautifully landscaped space for the building’s residents to pass through each day. The long standing problem of residents throwing objects out of apartment windows at the plaza below has dramatically decreased with the implementation of this project, evidence of the power of design to improve people’s lives and effect behavior.