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The Phoenix Career Academy

September 1, 2004
by root
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Brooklyn, New York

The Phoenix Career Academy integrates in one location substance abuse treatment, education, primary healthcare, vocational skills training, and job placement. This infrastructure of buildings and technology was designed to facilitate and enhance the therapeutic process, enabling res idents with substance abuse issues to overcome their deficits, reclaim their lives, and fulfill their potential as responsible individuals a nd community members.

The Academy is located in the old waterfront district of historic downtown Brooklyn, New York. It is housed in two interconnected buildings, which were originally a paint and varnish factory. Both buildings’ façades were completely restored . The structures were seriously deteriorated and required complete interior reconstruction, a large portion of which was done by residents. During the course of the two-year project, more than 200 residents in treatment participated in the buildings’ reconstruction. They re ceived clinical support, safety and skills training, and exposure to the rigors and discipline of construction work.

The Academy houses 240 men and women on four identical floors. Each floor has 60 residents and is designed as a self-contained suite with seven separate dormitories sharing toilet and shower facilities, a commons and communication center, and a lounge. The lighting fixtures are simple fluorescent rounds, but they were installed on the walls rather than the ceiling to create a more intimate scale for the living areas. The lounges are located at the corner of each floor, allowing for maximum daylight and ri ver views.

The Academy’s vocational training program is housed on three identical floors. Each floor includes workshops, classr ooms, group meeting rooms, and vocational staff offices, all flanking a central corridor. Windows between the various spaces and the corrido r share light and views, facilitating supervision and providing the openness that supports the group therapeutic process.

The Academy is further distinguished by state-of-the-art technology. It is fully wired for communications and data distribution. Computers for resident use are located on every residential floor and in all group meeting rooms. BHM

For more information, contact Conrad Levenson, FAIA, Vice-President, Director of Properties Management, at or (718) 726-8484, ext. 3401; or Grazyna Pilatowicz, IIDA , Properties Planning and Design Manager, at gpilatowicz@phoenixh or (718) 726-8484, ext. 3406.