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Philadelphia Housing Authority Norris Apartments Revitalization

Design and construction of new public housing on a 2.9-acre site in the Hartranft section of North Philadelphia. The revitalized rental community includes 51 walk-ups and townhomes comprising 14 one-bedroom units, 23 two-bedroom units, and 14 three-bedroom units. The flats, bi-levels, and 3-story units range from 623 to 1,329 square feet, including six fully UFAS-compliant homes. Building types include two 3-story structures, a 2-story structure, and nine 3-story townhouses. A management office and laundry facility are also provided.

Norris Apartments represents the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s first ever LEED development, applying nationally accepted standards for the planning, design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED Gold certification was achieved on four of the buildings.  LEED criteria used in this project include:

  • Wood framing from renewable sources
  • Pre-and post-consumer recycled materials such as gypsum board, carpeting
  • Energy Star qualified windows
  • Low flow plumbing fixtures
  • Low VOC-paints for improved indoor air quality
  • Reflective EPDM roof surface
  • Solar hot water panels on the roof
  • Energy Star appliances and equipment
  • Compact fluorescent light (CFL) fixtures
  • Site layout that maximize cross-ventilation
  • Native landscaping

Our team worked closely with PHA to expedite a very different design than originally anticipated, opting for a modern aesthetic that combines a brick veneer and phenolic panel rain-screen system. The homes surround a center courtyard that provides green space while controlling rainwater runoff.  This project will serve as a pilot program with the Philadelphia Water Department to reduce runoff into the city sewer system. Streetscape and infrastructure improvements include off-street parking, driveways, curbs, sidewalks, and lighting.

Development of the property required the demolition of a 1950’s-era, 11-story, 179-unit apartment building and two small structures occupying the lot. Demolition activities included:

  • Removal of household debris, windows, and fixtures
  • Abatement of hazardous materials such as VAT, floor tiles/mastic, asbestos-containing pipe insulation, transite panels, roofing, sealants
  • Structural demolition by wrecking ball
  • Disposal or recycling of building debris



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