Team: Erikjan Vermeulen, Rob Wagemans, Cindy Wouters, Matthijs Hombergen, Jolijn Vonk, Jesse Nolte, Sofie Ruytenberg, Ana Bissau Pereira, Eva Stekelenburg, Melanie Knuewer Johanna Zyschki, Robert Schellekens, Kayla Lee
Text description provided by the architects. Every day, 180,000 people around the world move to the city. And all those people need a place to live. But with rising demand comes rising rent, making it virtually impossible for young potentials and the middle class to find rental housing that is not only affordable, but also caters to the needs of the modern urban citizen. In a time characterised by flexibility, community and sustainability, the available rental- housing increasingly fails to meet modern-day demands.
And so in 2009, Concrete was approached by Ironstate to develop a better rental-housing product for New York’s densely populated areas. ‘Better’ in this context was defined as a product that more adequately meets the needs of the modern urban resident, offers higher value for the money and facilitates a more positive way of living. Concrete and Ironstate joined forces and before long, Urby was born. A unique residential concept that offers premium value at sub-premium rates and a truly connected living experience.
Urby is a holistic housing concept that offers residents much more than living quarters. That said, Concrete started out with focusing on the essence: the apartments. The design team created Small (studio), Medium (one-bedroom) and Large (two-bedroom) units. In order to test functionality, flow and setup, several mock-up apartments were built in a Jersey warehouse. In 2012, Concrete and Ironstate completed a 48-unit building in Jersey City and started renting the apartments out to gauge market response and collect user feedback. Three apartments have been kept on for testing purposes to this day, in order to constantly fine-tune layouts, finishes and fixtures. Meanwhile in 2011, Concrete started working on the Urby Staten Island project, applying the learnings from the test building to the first official Urby building.
The Urby Staten Island project consists of more than 900 rental apartments, 571 of which have been completed in phase 1. This fall, construction begins on the remaining 340 apartments. Next to Staten Island Urby will be present in other areas close to the city as well. End of the year the 69 story tower of Urby Jersey City with 763 apartments will open, while construction of Urby Harrison (450 apartments) is on it’s way and Urby Stamford will start construction in fall. Other sites in and around New York are currently under design investigation.