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Construction to begin on innovative green homes in Near Westside neighborhood
Mary Kate O’Brien
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 12:30 p.m. at 626 Otisco St. for the three houses that won the “From the Ground Up: Innovative Green Homes” international design competition in January, sponsored by the Syracuse University School of Architecture, Home HeadQuarters Inc. and the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (Syracuse CoE).
Developed for vacant infill sites on Syracuse’s Near Westside, these residences will provide a new vision for one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and demonstrate the value of design within a typically underserved and demographically diverse community, incorporating the most advanced thinking about design, sustainability and cost-effective building practices for the single-family house. The three winning firms—ARO and Della Valle Bernheimer, New York; Cook + Fox / Terrapin Bright Green, New York and Washington, D.C.; and Onion Flats, Philadelphia—are leaders in the field of sustainable design. These houses wed high standards of living with advanced technology, providing a range of design approaches to encourage revitalization of the Near Westside and neighborhoods in postindustrial cities across the nation.
The three partner groups worked collaboratively with one another, Near Westside residents and experts from the design and technology fields to bring these homes to fruition. Home HeadQuarters Inc. is committed to creating housing opportunities in the Near Westside neighborhood and throughout Syracuse, and Syracuse CoE is developing and testing “green” technologies that promote human health, creativity, comfort and ecosystem sustainability. UPSTATE: A Center for Design, Research and Real Estate at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture was instrumental in assembling nationally recognized professionals with expertise in architecture, landscape architecture and sustainable design to bring the most current thinking on urban revitalization to the project.
The development of these houses is part of the Syracuse Art, Life, Technology (SALT) District of the Near Westside, which is directed by the Near Westside Initiative Inc. (NWSI), a not-for-profit organization. The NWSI leverages the resources of Syracuse University, the state, the city, private foundations, businesses, not-for-profit corporations and neighborhood residents to achieve its goals. A creative community focusing on art and culture is envisioned that will foster economic development, jobs and stability for the neighborhood and city as well as rich academic experiences for SU students. Current NWSI initiatives include the development of mixed use spaces in vacant warehouses such as the Lincoln Supply Warehouse. Construction of the three “From the Ground Up” houses is planned for completion in late spring 2010.