HSC was founded in 2002 by the architecture firm Leroy Street Studio (LSS). The East New York Urban Youth Corp, a nonprofit group specializing in building rehab and community outreach, approached LSS to work on an affordable housing project and Community Center. As a result, the LSS partners/HSC co-founders designed and built a series of playful interventions for the courtyards, as well as a lobby with local sculptors and tile makers, and future tenants. The lobby design replaced standard tiles with mosaics and hand carved clay tiles, and installed ferro-cement planters in the courtyard. The transformation was dramatic, and the project led to the formation of Hester Street Collaborative.
Today, HSC staff and LSS architects still work together on community design projects, as well as design education efforts. This partnership promotes the exchange of professional expertise between the nonprofit and professional design worlds and allows us to serve an even wider audience. HSC operates out of a storefront workshop within LSS’s building, rooting both practices in the local community.