Since no one is restoring brownstones these days, what should be done with them? Making them over in glass and aluminum is a common strategy, but is there an alternative design that could enrage preservationists less and perhaps become a new go-to housing form? Flavorwire put this question to a bunch of local designers, including Curbed favorites like PlayLab and HWKN. Above, HWKN's submission, entitled Metreepolis. HWKN founder Marc Kusher explains: "In the future, power-generating plant-life will stitch into our urban fabric the way that roads hold our neighborhoods together today. These genetically modified plants will create new opportunities for architecture and developers, too."
Another design, from KatzChiao's Terri Chiao, fits in with the current trend toward micro-apartments. Chiao explains:
We see an opportunity to create efficient yet comfortable 'micro-loft' apartments that integrate shared communal spaces built around a building's amenities. Taking inspiration from dormitories and warehouse lofts, a typology that combines affordable private space with accessible shared space could be a valuable addition to NYC's housing stock. The limit to current brownstones is that they can only accommodate floor-through apartments or two apartments per floor due to having windows only in the front and back. By making a skinnier building (imagine a 5? side lot running along the length of the building), twice the number of apartments per floor can be accommodated because they can use the side lot for light, coming in through large windows, which were not possible when many brownstones were originally built. A smaller footprint (each apartment is 232 sq. ft.) and a taller ceiling height (14.5?) makes room for a lofted mezzanine bedroom, which helps make a smaller space feel more comfortable and usable than if all of the apartment were on the same level.