Vanburn (Andy) Brookes
Harlem's Congregation for Community Improvement
New York


“By incorporating everyone affected by the project into its development, we can achieve better designs. In turn, better design creates better housing, instilling the sense of ownership and security vital to creating a vibrant neighborhood.”

The Rose Fellowship was an eye-opening experience for Andy Brookes. “Helping with the predevelopment, design, construction and management of projects broadened my mind. Having completed a number of projects, I can see a steady progress in the development, design and management of the buildings, which positively affect the low-income neighborhoods where they are located.”

Andy is a graduate of the City College, School of Architecture and Environmental Studies with a master’s in urban design. So he had a short trip uptown for his work with Harlem’s Congregation for Community Improvement (HCCI). Andy helped the agency design and develop Harlem’s first green building, the David and Joyce Dinkins Gardens. The project, supported by a Green Communities grant from Enterprise, provides 83 homes for low-income residents, including at least 30 for youth who have aged out of foster care.

\“My fellowship helped my host organization realize the potential that design has for the good of the neighborhood. I was also fortunate to be able to ‘preach green’ and create a sense of social and environmental responsibility through green principles and techniques.” Andy’s efforts ranged from detailed charrettes and construction classes to mechanical systems design. His use of “through-the-plank” ventilation helped HCCI adopt this important healthy building technique for its entire new construction portfolio. Andy is especially adept at reusing materials in an environmentally responsible way, incorporating several innovative reuse techniques in the Dinkins Gardens project.

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