5 Winning Ideas to Fill New York City's Most Challenging Sites

5 Winning Ideas to Fill New York City's Most Challenging Sites

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) have selected five New York City-based firms that will advance to the final stage of the Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC design competition. Launched in February 2019, the competition invited architects and designers to submit proposals that developed high-quality affordable housing on small, irregular lots across the city.

The five finalists were selected from 444 proposals from 36 countries. The competition formed part of the Mayor’s accelerated Housing New York 2.0 plan, that furthers the city’s efforts to unlock difficult-to-develop sites for housing. By engaging the architectural community as critical partners, the HPD hopes to demonstrate feasible, replicable housing solutions across various sites and promote excellence in urban infill design.

AIA New York will curate an exhibition at the Center for Architecture highlighting the winning submissions, opening on August 1st and on display through the Fall of 2019. For more information, visit the competition’s website here.

Mass Green Living / Anawan/101 + Kane AUD

© Anawan 101 + Kane AUD

Description: Our proposal explores how affordable housing can promote healthy, sustainable living while elevating concepts of community.  These ideas coalesce in our Urban Garage, a public extension of each apartment everyone shares for simple tasks and social activities.  Each individual unit uses open, through-floor designs to provide cross ventilation and maximum natural lighting. Additionally, front and rear exterior gardens in the apartments supply planting space and solar shading.  For the structure of the building cross-laminated timber is employed for its precise nature, sustainable construction, and warm finished appearance. When combined together we believe this toolkit of solutions can be readily used to provide healthy, affordable living throughout New York City.

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Greenfill House as Garden / Michael Sorkin Studio

© Michael Sorkin Studio

Description: Our design pushes the limits of environmental friendliness, explores new and economical construction methods and materials, provides “non-traditional” accommodation for today’s market, engages local community resources in building and training, and seeks to be the best possible neighbor in differing social and physical circumstances.  We investigate “net-zero” architecture and its infrastructures as well as accommodation for a diversity of lifestyles.  Individual units are small lofts, augmented by shared spaces, including a ground floor co-working, studio, or meeting room, a congenial roof-top, and a small “hotel” room for guests.  We’ve been especially engaged with offering a new prototype for daylighting in this typical party-wall situation.

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Fold and Stack / OBJ


Description: What do you do when you have limited space? You fold and stack.  Our proposal seeks to turn the subject site's small footprint from a design obstacle into a design catalyst.  By introducing a double-height typical unit “Fold & Stack” seeks to minimize the unit’s footprint, consolidate services into a modular wet core, and maximize reconfigurability across as many sites as possible.  The double-height design brings more of the unit to the exterior of the site – allowing greater access to natural light and ventilation.  A combination of prefabricated elements and cross-laminated timber panels allows for fast construction and minimal on-site labor.

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Only If / Only If Architecture

© Only If

Description: Buildings on small lots need to avoid taking on the obligations of larger projects. For 113 West 136th, our proposal strategically avoids the infrastructure of bigger buildings such as an elevator, resulting in an efficient and compact vertical core. This, in turn, provides more space to vary its 7 units, which range from a micro-studio with a front stoop, to studios and loft studios, to a one and two-bedroom unit. This mixture is envisioned to create a stronger community of diverse residents. Within each unit, a thickened wall of prefabricated components addresses the challenges of small units and accommodates services, storage, kitchens, and circulation within loft units.

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More with Less / Palette Architecture

© Palette Architecture

Description: Our “More With Less” proposal seeks to economically house residents in community-driven, contextually-appropriate developments.  By leveraging pre-fabrication practices and opportunities inherent on small sites, we can offer affordable construction that maximizes the number of residents served and minimizes costs.  The proposal operates within the current code and zoning standards to create micro-communities where residents benefit from shared resources and increased agency.  Because of its scale, each community’s collective identity is wholly defined by its members, who have an individual stake in forming the physical environment.  Common kitchens, unprogrammed flex spaces, exterior spaces, and semi-private interior terraces provide residents with scalable levels of privacy which become the armature for unique and organic community growth.

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Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "5 Winning Ideas to Fill New York City's Most Challenging Sites" 15 May 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/917122/5-winning-ideas-to-fill-new-york-citys-most-challenging-sites> ISSN 0719-8884

© Michael Sorkin Studio


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