Brooklyn Boro

One of these tiny houses could be coming to a block near you

See the five finalists for the city's small lot design contest

May 15, 2019 Noah Goldberg
“Only If” Only If Architecture
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The city selected five New York-based architecture collectives as finalists for the “Big Ideas for Small Lots” competition on Tuesday, after more than 400 applications poured in from across the globe.

The competition — run by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the American Institute of Architects — requested proposals in February for high-quality affordable housing on small, irregular lots throughout the city, as a small part of the city’s goal to build and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.

Six of the tiny lots are in Brooklyn.

“The urgency of the affordability crisis requires us to continually push the envelope to meet our city’s diverse housing needs. To unlock some of our most difficult-to-develop sites we needed to take a fresh approach, and taking that leap has clearly paid off,” Louise Carroll, the commissioner of HPD, said in a statement.

All of the applications were designed around an empty lot in Harlem, but HPD said they hope to use the designs throughout the five boroughs.

“As a jury, we looked for inventive proposals that considered the residents as well as the communities beyond. We discussed design quality broadly, with a focus on technical feasibility. Accessibility, both physical and economic, was also an important consideration,” Hayes Slade, the AIANY 2019 President and a jury chair, said in a statement.

The Finalists

Mass Green Living

“Mass Green Living” Anawan/101 + Kane AUD
“Mass Green Living” Anawan/101 + Kane AUD. Rendering via HPD

The collaborative proposal from Jeremiah Joseph of Anawan/101 and Ted Kane of Kane AUD, “Mass Green Living,” is a five-unit, 5,900-square-foot building, with a ground-floor shared common space called the Urban Garage. “Our idea of the Urban Garage creates an extension of each apartment into shared areas, combining and elevating everyday uses with more dynamic social gatherings, making a place where everyone is included, and everyone shares,” said Jeremiah Joseph of Anawan/101.

Greenfill House as Garden

“Greenfill House as Garden” Michael Sorkin Studio
“Greenfill House as Garden” Michael Sorkin Studio. Rendering via HPD

“Greenfill House as Garden” by Michael Sorkin Studio proposes a seven-unit, approximately 4,430-square-foot building. The verdant, wood-paneled proposal recedes back from the street, creating a terraced effect. Michael Sorkin Studio is based in New York City. They specialize in urbanism and green architecture.

Fold and Stack

“Fold and Stack” OBJ
“Fold and Stack” OBJ. Rendering via HPD

This five-unit, 5,540-square-foot building is proposed by four architects that currently work for Diller, Scofidio, and Renfro in New York City and Olson Kundig in Seattle, Washington. It’s organized around an interior courtyard. “We’re excited to be participating in the future of NYC housing,” Merica May Jensen, a partner at OBJ, said. “As New Yorkers, we asked ourselves, ‘What do you do when you have limited space?’ You fold and stack! The double-height ‘stacked’ unit is easy to reconfigure on a variety of sites — meaning the small lots are no longer design obstacles, but design opportunities.”

Only If

“Only If” Only If Architecture
“Only If” Only If Architecture. Rendering via HPD

Designed by the New York City-based firm Only If Architecture, this seven-unit, 4,900-square-foot proposal produced compact living spaces, allowing the architects to fit two-bedrooms into the building as well as micro apartments.

More with Less

“More with Less” Palette Architecture
“More with Less” Palette Architecture. Rendering via HPD

The smallest proposal of the bunch offers only two units at a tiny 3,700 square feet. Proposed by Palette Architecture — based in New York City — one of the two units would be designed as a co-living space, comprised of four separate individual rooming units. “By promoting shared resources and flexible spaces, we strengthen community, maximize the number of residents we can serve, and minimize construction costs,” Peter Miller, a partner at Palette Architecture, said.

The finalists were awarded $3,000 stipends to further develop their ideas into affordable housing development proposals, which will be submitted in September.


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