A proposal for a micro apartment building in Midtown Manhattan
In response to a call for entries for ADAPT NYC, an initiative launched by former Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to accommodate the city’s growing small household population, we proposed Apt 2.0,. This was a configurable, 10-story building with 55 loft-like rental units that ranged in size from 260 to 360 square feet.
Taking our cue from the lifestyles of young New Yorkers, who constantly rearrange everything from their iPod playlists to their wardrobes, our living spaces could be easily altered according to need and whim. Each unit has a Murphy bed and a partial wall of storage space that can slide from living to sleeping area. It also features a brightly colored, sliding partition, which by changing its position, alters the appearance of the unit and building’s façade, creating a dynamic effect on the outside of the building. Interestingly, it also reflects how the building is being used by the residents inside.
What drove our design for Apt. 2.0 was the competition’s requirements for light and air, innovation in the exterior and interior, and the need for a model that was both replicable and scalable. In regard to the former requirements, we designed a dynamic façade, equipped with solar panel screens, which change from dappled shades by day to glowing trellises at night. We further enlivened this façade by specifying brightly patterned window shades, so the building’s appearance would constantly change according to how residents adjusted those shades. As to the matter of replicability, we believe a different array of materials could be employed for the façade and shades to create a similar but distinct micro-unit high-rise in another neighborhood, say, the Bronx.
We hung the solar panel screens at the edge of the sunshades and always at the bed, extending the sense of space to the outside, and not limiting it to the glass wall. They provide an additional layer of privacy, while collecting enough energy to illumine the building at night and power digital devices.
We equipped the apartments with window boxes to give residents a personal connection with nature. Finally, we designed an outdoor communal space and grilling terrace shaded by birch trees as well as a 3,000 square foot garden.