Kuth Ranieri Architects in Collaboration with Tom Leader Studio
ECO-Commons is conceived as a socially and environmentally sustainable suburban community that introduces new paradigms for retirement / eldercare constituencies. An intergenerational mixed-use development, ECO-Commons asserts contiguous systems of dwelling, wellness, education, commerce, recreation, ecology and energy production to create an active nexus for residents and the community.
Suburban to Urban
Eco-Commons presents a new paradigm for making successful urban space from auto-centric suburban landscapes. Located in Levitt Town, New York, a mid-century icon of suburban development, the site presents an opportunity to generate a new suburban ideal. One that reflects modern demographic and cultural changes specific to the generational shift of baby boomers to elders.
We looked to the tradition of UBRC's - University Based Retirement Communities - as both precedent and development model. Eco-Commons expands upon this model to assert contiguous systems of dwelling, wellness, education, commerce, recreation, ecology, and energy production. It establishes a nexus of activity for residents and the broader community providing new opportunities for overlap and engagement. The proposed community includes 450 units of elder housing, educational, commercial office and retail, parking, open space, reservoir, and urban agriculture.
Within its immediate context, the Commons knits together the residual fabric of suburban development. It negotiates the dramatic spatial differences of the surrounding residential neighborhoods and the commercial/retail multi-lane highway through a system of building and landscape. These tectonics which rise, fold, knit, and torque across the site incorporate public and private programming and performative environmental systems. Bike paths and pedestrian bridges link nearby parks and open spaces. A proposed light rail system connects this district to downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. Eco-Commons is a walking city where amenities are easily accessible to intergenerational residents and connected to the broader community.
The social components and ecological systems are dynamically intertwined, connecting system, site, and programming. The entire site behaves as a constructed eco-system attending to water, energy production, and waste management. As a multi-use urban district, the Commons brings together 10 acres of rooftop agricultural fields and greenhouses, 300,000 sf of office, research, and commercial space, 450 units of multi-generational housing and a site-wide wetlands and reservoir that overlap to form a vibrant and sustainable urban nexus in the suburbs.