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Architects Imagine Housing Alternatives for New York City

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Inside the micro-apartment within the exhibit, a fold-away desk.
Inside the micro-apartment within the exhibit, a fold-away desk.

[Photos by Will Femia.]

This week has become small spaces week in New York City, with the announcement of the winner of the city's adAPT micro apartment competition and the unveiling of the runners-up. Not at all coincidentally, this week also marks the opening of a new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, Making Room, focused on new housing models for New York City. Prior to Mayor Bloomberg's adAPT announcement at MCNY this week, Curbed took a stroll through the exhibition, which was inspired by a Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC) initiative comparing NYC's housing stock with its population demographics. That initiative's general conclusion: if 33 percent of NYC households are single adults living alone, NYC needs more small apartments.
The centerpiece of Making Room is a micro apartment of 325 square feet designed by Amie Gross Architects Pierluigi Colombo. Here's a little archibabble on it:

The unit's unique L-shape configuration is wheelchair accessible and adheres to all of New York City's building codes and regulations, except for minimum unit size. Its terrace creates an outdoor 'room' that also increases the sustainability of the unit by bringing in more light and air. Our verdict on walking through it: it certainly didn't feel small.

The exhibition also features several designs for alternative types of NYC housing, pictured in the gallery above. The concepts come from five architectural teams chosen by CHPC and the Architectural League of New York, and competition entrants were told to design housing for certain family configurations, from singles to extended families, without worrying about regulations like minimum unit size and building density.

The designs include 232-square-foot micro-lofts from a team led by Peter Gluck. The lofts would fit 20 to a building on the typical 25 by 100-foot lot, and like the adAPT competition finalists, the building would include many shared amenities. A proposal for detached homes in Queens from the architects at Gans studio shows how accessory dwelling units could be added to a home's lot, to provide space for visitors, tenants, or extended family. Another concept from Gans studio, Re:MX, involves converting an industrial building in Brooklyn into a mixed-use space with the residences organized around an interior courtyard and enough storage that the units could "function as timeshares." Perhaps the adAPT winner will pave the way for some of these proposals to become reality.

UPDATE: Museum reps have clarified that the unit was not designed by Amie Gross Architects, but that Amie Gross was responsible for checking its compliance with building codes. Pierluigi Colombo designed the unit, which was constructed by Clei and Resource Furniture.

· Official site: Making Room [MCNY]
· Meet the Five Finalists in NYC's Micro-Apartment Competition [Curbed]
· Microdwellings coverage [Curbed]

Museum of the City of New York

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