Additions and renovations are on the way in WashWest at the Casa Farnese apartment building, the city’s first affordable housing complex for senior citizens. It was, incidentally, also one of the first senior housing complexes in the country.
The Washington Square West Civic Association voted not to oppose an application to create a one-story addition/expansion of the lobby/vestibule area, according to Jonathan Broh, a member of its zoning committee. To do that, workers will remove a modernist-style arch that currently sits squarely in the area that’s being remodeled. Renovations to some apartments are also planned.
Built in 1966 by Stonorov & Haws Architects, this building offers housing that’s subsidized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Two-thirds of its approximately 320 tenants are Section 8 approved.
While the building was state of the art when it was constructed, the building is well worn by now. The Casa Farnese Preservation Program is an effort to make necessary renovations and updates to the building to bring it up to modern standards. The hope is to “ensure that one of the first legacies of affordable housing for seniors in the city can be preserved for future generations.”
Architect Oscar Stonorov, from the above mentioned firm, worked with the famous Philadelphia architects George Howe (who designed the PSFS Building, now known as the Loews Hotel) and Louis Kahn before founding his firm. With Kahn, he co-wrote Why City Planning Is Your Responsibility in 1943 and later collaborated on You and Your Neighborhood… A Primer for Neighborhood Planning. All before the German-born emigrant even became a registered US architect.
Looks like we have some reading to catch up on.