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Construction & Design

Urbahn Architects makes a difference during annual Day of Service

Urbahn Architects and its personnel donated their time and talent to AIA New York’s (AIANY) 2020 Day of Service.

The initiative encourages architects to make a difference at the local level by partnering with non-profit organizations to bring fresh design ideas into their existing facilities.

Urbahn assembled a team of 40 people among its staff, including 10 designers and 30 construction volunteers, to enliven an entrance passage and recreation space at the Clay Street Men’s Assessment Center in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, a facility operated by the Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC). The Assessment Center, a 200-bed shelter, serves as the first point of contact for men over the age of 18 who have recently become homeless.


The Urbahn team designed and painted a geometric mural to enliven passageway space.

“As architects, we are fortunate to be able to help improve people’s environments and even their lives in meaningful ways. Most of our staff was attracted to Urbahn because of the firm’s history of designing projects in the public realm in and around New York City. We see Day of Service as an opportunity to get one step closer to the people we serve by not only designing a transformative space, but by building it as well,” said Natale V. Barranco, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Urbahn Architects.

“Once again, the team from Urbahn outdid themselves with the AIA Day of Service project. We now have a vibrant and welcoming courtyard that provides shelter and recreational opportunities for residents of our center in Brooklyn.” said Daughtry Carstarphen, AIA, BRC’s Vice President for Capital Projects.

Architect Oni Lloyd, RA led the Urbahn team. “BRC desired a joyful shaded space that would provide clearly delineated areas for entry and recreation,” Lloyd explained. “Working within a limited budget, the Urbahn team designed and painted a complex geometric mural on both the concrete pavement and the walls. The volunteers also installed triangular fabric shade ‘sails,’ supported by stainless-steel tubes set in 2-foot diameter concrete filled sonotubes, as well as wood slat benches and planters.”

The project was made possible by donations from several contractors and suppliers, including: New York Digital (lighting fixtures); Forte Construction (materials and labor); TAP Electrical Contracting (labor); Tape Jungle (painters tape); Uline (cigarette receptacles); BluEdge (signage); Wallauer Paint & Design (paint, rollers, and trays); Coolaroo (sail shades and hardware); and Ocean Wholesale Nursery (plants).

Urbahn donated spray paint for the mural, as well as soil, tape, tools, and protective gear. AIANY donated artificial turf and plants, stones, a picnic table and lunches for the volunteers.

The redesigned yard features triangular fabric shade “sails” to shield visitors from the sun, wooden benches and planters.

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