Magnusson Architecture + Planning Unveils St. Augustine Terrance in The Bronx

Magnusson Architecture + Planning (MAP) will debut St. Augustine Terrace, a new mid-rise building that will provide 112 units of affordable housing for low-income families in the Bronx. The project was commissioned by The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and built on the site of the former St. Augustine’s Church in the heart of the Morrisania neighborhood.

The design was inspired by the notion that a house of worship is a beacon of light in its community. From that idea came 13 floors of large, fully glazed elevator lobbies which provide spectacular views by day and then become a glowing tower by night.

“The beacon of light idea is a visual representation of the client’s mission,” said architect Fernando Villa, AIA, a principal at Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP). “The building shows what affordable housing can be, both for the community of people who live there and those in the surrounding neighborhood.”

The placement of this south facing element was the most inclusive way to share the city vista with all residents. At the same time it gives light to the adjacent park in the evening.

One third of the units (35 studio apartments) will be set aside for adults with mental illness and the Beacon of Hope Division of Catholic Charities Community Services will provide supportive services. The remaining 77 units will include 19 one-bedroom, 37 two-bedroom, and 21 three-bedroom apartments.

Neighborhood Integration

Rock formations uncovered during construction were incorporated into the landscape at the front of the property providing a visual association with the park and a connection to the area’s natural environment. They also supply an organic complement to the straight lines and right angels of the building. Just beyond the entry, decking extends out over the rocks to a look-out point, a spot for residents and visitors to enjoy as the topography slopes downward toward the west revealing more views. The bell and stones from the original church which are placed throughout the landscaping, celebrate the site’s history and create yet another link to the neighborhood.

Amenities for Residents

With offices for social services on-site, this project is a prime example of the alternative ways that religious institutions can serve their communities. A large portion of the ground floor fronting Fulton Avenue will include supportive housing offices, the community/multi-use room and laundry. The ground floor will receive direct daylight and have access to a landscaped front yard. Below grade space will include bike storage and mechanical rooms.

The building, which has achieved LEED Gold status, will also be enrolled in the NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program (MPP). As a NYC HPD funded project, it will comply with the Enterprise Green Communities certification program as well.

The resiliency and sustainability measures, quality building materials, broadly accessible panoramas, evening light provided to the nearby park and street corners, and elements that tie to the history of the place, all exemplify the inclusivity and care that underlie this work.



For over three decades, Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP) has worked with non-profit groups, municipalities, and for-profit developers to improve the lives of those who live and work in their communities. MAP’s award-winning buildings and urban revitalization projects serve as the foundation for vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods. Since our founding in 1986, we have been at the forefront of quality housing, green building and urban design.

MAP offers comprehensive architectural and planning services that blend design excellence with technical and planning expertise. The firm specializes in mixed-use developments including: affordable, supportive, senior, mixed-income, and market-rate housing; schools; community facilities; urban design projects; and, community planning.

In 2015 MAP established a Volunteer Program. Every month a team of staff, friends, and family donate personal time to projects that serve residents of the buildings the firm has designed, improve features in those buildings or support the clients of MAP’s nonprofit partners.


More than 1,000 new affordable apartments are under construction or in various stages of planning. In addition, Catholic Homes New York has renovated more than 2,000 apartments in 7 different neighborhoods over the past 8 years. Catholic Homes New York is an affiliate of The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

Contact: Abby Addams