the "new it" in housing - from a NYC perspective

Eager to jump on the living solo/living small trend, the city launched its adAPT NYC competition last summer, seeking proposals for micro units to fill a building at 335 East 27th Street. Mayor Bloomberg announced the winner this morning, and the judges (an illustrious panel including Paul Goldberger, Bjarke Ingels, Maya Lin, and others who probably don't live in very small apartments) have chosen…the team of Monadnock Development LLC, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, and nARCHITECTS. It was presumably a tough decision—the competition received 33 entries, the most the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has ever received in response to an RFP, according to HPD Commissioner Matthew Wambua. Renderings of the winning design are in the gallery above.

The units—the building will have 55 apartments, 40 percent of them affordable—will range from 250 to 370 square feet, with nine- to 10-foot ceilings and Juliette balconies. The design is meant to accommodate NYC's growing number of one- and two-person households, and the small unit size means that some amenities that might ordinarily be located within an apartment will be common spaces, instead. For example: the building will have a rooftop garden, lounges on most of the floors, a deck, a multi-purpose lounge for dinners and events, a laundry room, bike storage and general storage, a cafe, and a fitness room.

Construction, timing, and the micro-dwelling big picture >>

Construction will start by the end of this year (with move-ins by September 2015), and that's where the project gets even more interesting. The building will be the first multi-family building in Manhattan to use prefab construction, and the building is short enough that the prefab modules, which will be manufactured by Capsys at its Brooklyn Navy Yard factory, will essentially snap together. And while units will be smaller than in a conventional apartment building, soundproofing will actually be better, according to the folks from Monadnock Development, because each module has a floor and a ceiling, doubling the sound protection for each unit.

The whole enterprise is intended to be a test balloon for NYC micro-apartments. The building will be allowed to circumvent certain city zoning regulations for square footage minimums and building density, and if the project is a success, Bloomberg explained, it would "help make the case for regulatory change." How much will this experiment cost tenants? The affordable housing units will range in price from $940/month to $1,800/month, and prices for the market-rate units have not yet been set. All of the units, regardless of the income restrictions, will be rent-stabilized.
· adAPT NYC coverage [Curbed]
· Microdwellings coverage [Curbed]

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Roger Burns

Roger Burns

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CENTURY 21 Bachman & Associates
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