The residential project. in Hunters Point, Long Island City involves a late-19th century terrace house to be demolished except for the foundation and the shared party walls with neighboring properties to the north and south. The new construction will rely on the existing true party walls and existing foundation for support with the exception of the rear extension.
The existing building is one of eight-in-a-row, three-story masonry houses built contemporaneously in 1903 and employing common concrete foundations and brick party-wall structural methods. Recent mapping has determined that the entire block is in the flood plain placing the basement level (a full living area) below the flood plain elevation. Code prohibits substantial renovation to any useable space below this legal datum. The project, therefore, consists of raising this lowest level out of the flood plain and the subsequent levels to maintain floor-to-floor heights. This will be accomplished using the existing party walls which will remain in place. Also, there is a three story extension in the rear aligning to the new floor slab heights. Finally, the front façade which has been an eyesore for some 60 years due to an unfortunate remodeling will be replaced with a design that complements the adjoining houses in an effort to maintain the context of the block.
The house is designed according to Passive House standards; see: http://www.passivehouse.us/passiveHouse/PassiveHouseInfo.html for an overview. The construction is to meet Passive House standards (PH) requiring the inspection and sign-off on insulation levels and installation techniques by the energy engineer. Although common for decades in western Europe, PH is now coming to the consciousness of Americans as energy prices increase.